Preparing For Ski Season


Whether you work out five days a week or never step foot in a gym, before you hit the snow sports, get your body ready.

The winters may not typically bring much snow to the Hampton Roads and Williamsburg region of Virginia, but that doesn’t stop many of us from looking toward our more mountainous neighbors with eyes on the slopes and hopes for relaxing nights by a ski resort fire.

Head out to ski without preparing your body, though, and you’re likely to feel too sore to enjoy the long weekend away or, worse, get yourself hurt.

Already regularly work out? Try a few new maneuvers to get your ski muscles ready to prevent feeling sore after hours on the slopes or cross-country skiing. Don’t work out at all? You should especially follow these tips. Without preparation, you’re putting yourself at greater risk for injury.

When you are about six weeks out from skiing, consider these endurance, strength and jumping exercises. Doing these exercises will give you the confidence you need when you strap those skis on and hit the snow.

Plus, let’s face it, these exercises are good for sports beyond skiing, so no matter what activities you have planned, they are excellent options to layer into your workout routine.

TIP 1. Build up your endurance.

Start working on your endurance. Run, hop on the elliptical machine or any type of cardiovascular exercise that’s weight bearing in nature. Do this three to five days a week for 20 to 45 minutes.

Why? As you spend the day on the slopes and get tired, you lose focus on your form and that’s when you become more prone to injury. With skiing, you’re basically trying to decelerate your body down a hill and that becomes fatiguing, and dangerous, if you are not ready.

The endurance training can be especially important for cross-country skiing, also called Nordic skiing, which is often billed as one of the most difficult endurance sports.

TIP 2. Strength Training.

It’s no secret that you need your legs a lot on the slopes – both to keep control of your body as you move down the hill and for controlling your stop when you get to the bottom.

By controlling your stop, I also mean learning how to fall, which also takes strength.

Definitely plan to hit the weight machines in the gym.

Strength Training Exercise

“Push” exercise.

For novice skiers, look for adjustable weight machines.

Work the following muscle groups – quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, inner and outer thighs and calve muscles.

Plan to do three sets of eight to 12 repetitions. Select a weight you can comfortably do.

Strength Training Exercise

“Pull” exercise.

Mix up the order of exercises. I tell my patients to aim for a push then pull set up. Follow every push exercise with a pull maneuver.

For example, start with push, or leg extensions, and follow with a pull, like a leg curl.

TIP 3. Mind your core.

Your legs are important when skiing. But it’s not all legs. Do not forget your core.

Work your abdominal muscles. You need a strong core to keep you upright and steady, both on the slopes and flat ground.

Plyometric Exercise

Jump around!

TIP 4. Jump around.

For the advanced skiers out there, those that want to weave back and forth down a mountain, be sure to work on low-level plyometric, or jumping, exercises.

Not sure what to do?

Put a rolled up towel down on the ground and jump over it from side to side for 30 seconds. Repeat.


Take a Weekend Trip To Nearby Ski Resorts

Massanutten Resort is approximately 10 miles east of Harrisonburg, Va., in the north western region of Virginia.

Snow Sports at Massanutten:

Wintergreen Resort is located in the heart of Central Virginia adjacent to the Blue Ridge Parkway, just 90 minutes from Richmond, Va. and approximately three hours from Washington, D.C. and North Carolina.

Slope Report:

Snowshoe Mountain Ski Resort in West Virginia is home to 251 acres of skiable terrain, 1,500 vertical feet and 57 trails. The three ski areas include the Snowshoe Basin, Western Territory and Silver Creek.

Snowshoe Trip Planner: