Whether you’re a beginner, mediocre or black slope ‘mogulling’ wizard, preparation for the holiday’s activities are important. No matter how fit you are from other forms of exercise, you should prepare in advance before skiing.
The same can be said for snowboarding. Even though the techniques differ, training and preparation for both sports is essential to remain injury – free and enjoy the holiday to the maximum.
Preparation, preparation, preparation!
Due to the altitude and thinner air, your heart and lungs have to work harder to get enough blood and oxygen around your body. Exercises to improve cardiovascular and respiratory fitness are a great way of preparing for skiing and acclimatisation, and should be commenced a few months in advance.
Regular 30 minute workouts two to three times a week is a good way to commence training.
Cycling, walking, swimming, rollerblading, step machines and running are good ways of improving endurance and cardiovascular fitness.
For strengthening, focus on the lower back and legs Maximising the repetitions will help endurance as well as strength. Make sure pre-ski exercises are low impact to avoid over-use injuries.
When skiing or snowboarding, most injuries will occur during the first or last run of the day. This makes warming up thoroughly before you start very important. Listen to your body! Stop when you feel tired. Many injuries occur when fatigue sets in, so ensure your technique is correct.
Altitude, strenuous exercise and heavy duty après ski can contribute to dehydration so maintaining sufficient water intake is vital. Good preparation, stretching, adequate rest and gradually building up your ski routine over the first couple of days can minimise injuries.
Traumatic injuries occur when structures such as bones, ligaments, muscles and tendons are overloaded during a fall. Knees, thumbs, hands and upper limbs are particularly vulnerable. Strengthening thigh muscles will help protect knees reducing injury.
Overuse injuries can be just as painful and can last longer. They occur from gradually over-stressing and injuring tendons, muscles and ligaments and commonly affect thighs, knee-caps, shins, ankles, feet, lower back, shoulders and neck.