Winter is coming – Yay!
As the days get shorter and the temperature drops I am still outside in the fresh air running through piles of crunchy/soggy leaves or whizzing around on my bicycle, silly grin still plastered on my face. But the most exciting indication that winter is arriving is when my children spot the snowflake warning light on my car dashboard as we set out for school on a frosty morning, enthusiastically exclaiming: “Mummy, it’s nearly time for skiing!”
I have been skiing since I was 3 years old, and have skied every coloured piste that I could find as well as trekking off for virgin powder and training and racing anything from Slalom to Super-G with both the Kandahar and Mardens ski clubs. It is probably my greatest passion and I’m delighted that my kids have caught the ski bug, too. Skiing is fun, exhilarating, sociable, healthy and provides some of the best outdoor family experiences imaginable. I’m not the only ski fanatic out there - around a million Brits are already excited by the optimistic snow forecasts this season. The question is, are you fit to ski?
Whether you are a beginner on the green slopes, taking it easy on the blues, pushing yourself on the red runs, thrill-seeking on the black slopes, trying your luck off-piste or even doing some downhill racing in a skinsuit, skiing is a sport that rewards good levels of physical fitness, strength, flexibility, balance and agility.
Unfortunately for those of us not living in the Alps, we have to spend much of our day at work or school, sitting at a desk, or in a car, or on the sofa. Many don’t even think about the physical demands of skiing for six hours a day until it’s too late to do anything about it. So, it’s not surprising that people start to feel aches and pains even on the first day of a ski trip, and certainly by day three DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) can kick in if you haven’t adequately prepared. As The Ski Club of Great Britain highlights the majority of ski accidents or injuries occur after 3pm, with fatigue being the biggest contributing factor.
Snow sports require a mixture of fitness components that are rarely found in other individual pursuits. To enjoy your downhill/cross country skiing or snowboarding you need a solid foundation of:
Core body and lower body muscle strength
Balance and agility
It doesn’t matter whether you’re a green or black level skier the ability to maintain the correct body position on skis or a snowboard whilst gliding down the piste is essential and this will test not just your legs, but your core strength and aerobic ability. Those more demanding parts of the mountain require your body to work very hard for short bursts, and either to hold a tuck position for speed, or quickly swerve in and out of turns – all of which use your muscles in different ways. We should also throw into the mix, good balance, flexibility on the piste (as well as the ski lifts) and some fast reaction skills.
A little bit of ski-specific fitness and strength training will go a long way to help maximise the
your fun and minimise the chances of a sore aching body or worse, picking up an injury. Of course, the sooner you start your pre-holiday training the better; six weeks before your trip would be ideal and even a month before hitting the resort will still give you a good start.
So, as the days grow shorter, before you start rummaging around for those base layers, ski socks and salopettes, think about getting your body ready and sign up for some SkiFit training!
Get in touch with us about 1:1 and small group training before the snow is all gone!