For many, Skiing gives that sense of escapism with an adrenalin kick for good measure. There is no better feeling than the first morning up on the slopes as you breathe in the mountain air and admire the majestic beauty of mother nature, before descending on the first run of the day.
With the majority of recreational skiers only managing one ski holiday a year, many skiers suffer from fatigue, aching muscles and injuries that are easily avoidable with pre-training. Just like with any sport, conditioning your body for the activity will greatly enhance your enjoyment by being able to make the most out of the week. It is worth noting that most injuries happen late afternoon on the second day of a week long trip caused by fatigue.
This is why pre-training to get into shape for that yearly ski trip is so important and the key is to strengthen your core, improve your central balance and posture. Your core consists of the abdominals, obliques, lower back and hips.
Core strengthening will improve your fitness, strength, and endurance, as well as your balance and posture which will reduce the risk of lower back compression. Being able to keep your weight central will also reduce your chances of catching an edge whilst skiing.
Common injuries to skiers are to the knees and lower limbs and although working on leg strength as part of your conditioning routine is important, a strengthened core will reduce the stress on the lower limbs and will give you more control of body movement.
Unlike traditional methods of exercise, strengthening your core is not about how many sit-ups or bench presses you can do in a minute, it is more about maintaining the core tension for a longer duration. Don’t worry if you do not belong to a gym, as you can perform simple exercises such as Planking at home. Swiss Balls and Balance Trainers are also great for core strengthening and are inexpensive items to buy.
Another inexpensive product which is ideal for working on your core, posture and balance for a ski trip is the SKiA Ski Trainer. These are simply blocks that are designed to fit under your ski boots so you are balancing off the ground. There are different size SKiA Ski Trainer’s for different levels of ability and they are designed so that you can find that sweetspot on your skis. UK professional skiers such as Emily Sarsfield use SKiA blocks as part of their training programmes.
If you do belong to a Gym, ask to see if they run any Ski Fit classes that are designed to get you in shape for the ski season. A lot of Gyms start running these from November. Yoga and Pilates is also highly recommended.
Unless you are a professional, you do not need to train all year round, but it is a good idea to start getting into a routine about 2-3 months before your trip. Improving your core and posture does not only improve your fitness and balance, it will also make you a stronger skier with more control over your movement.