4 Tips for Getting in Ski-Season Shape

Simple ways to build strength for the slopes

Ski season is upon us. It’s not easy to train for a seasonal sport, but it’s even less fun to be the person sucking wind the first day out on the slopes, or to have your leg wimp out after only a few runs. So, what are the best ways to get in shape for ski season? Start challenging yourself aerobically and building the big muscles that’ll help get you down the hills.

Get Strong
There’s a reason skiers are known for their butts. The muscles in the back of your body, like your glutes, hamstrings, lower back, and lats help to power you downhill, keep you stable over uneven terrain, and provide the strength needed to brace yourself against bumps. Getting those muscles in shape will keep you strong and protect your joints in the case of a fall. To train these muscles incorporate exercises like squats, deadlifts, lunges, and overhead press movements into your routine. This “Leg Blasters” circuit is a favorite of Freeride World Tour Champ Crystal Wright: 20 squats, 10 lunges on each leg, 10 jumping lunges on each leg and 10 squat jumps.

Keep Up With Cardio
Skiing requires both stamina (injuries happen most frequently when you’re tired) and short-burst aerobic output. To get in cardio shape, train for long efforts (a lot of pro skiers spend a significant amount of time on their bikes in the off-season) and for high output short bursts. Mix up your workouts, alternating longer rides or runs with sprint work. Include a few uphill run workouts to really challenge your lungs.  

Exercise Your Abs
Balance is a big part of skiing, which means core strength is extremely important. Plus, skiing isn’t one dimensional, so it’s important to work all of the different parts of your core muscles. Hit the front of your abs with planks, v-sits, and “supermans”; train your oblique muscles through rotational exercises, like Russian twists and bicycle crunches; and strengthen your back with exercises like back extensions and “bird dogs.”

Don't Neglect Your Guns
Your upper body and arms keep you stable and help you to get your weight forward. Plus, you’ll need strong biceps for poling through the flats. Burpee pushups, which work your entire body while also challenge your cardiovascular system, are a good choice for getting your upper body into the mix.