Written by Wendy Hunt for the Mansfield Pointe Claire
It’s hard to believe that the downhill ski season is coming up, but the sound of winter winds is a reminder that soon the snow will fall. For most people, preparation for the season will involve taking an inventory of last year’s ski boots and skis, a trip to the Ski Bin to get the best deals on new equipment, and then making sure that all equipment is tuned up, ski bases waxed and ready to go.
But what about the skier’s tune up?
Many adults claim they are already doing enough to keep them fit. They may run or play hockey or go to aerobics or spinning classes to stay fit. Many have been skiing for years and never did any preseason training before. Why start now? Let me count the why’s.
Because you need endurance, stability and overall fitness to ski, but you also need ski-specific strengths. Running may help with your strength and endurance but does not load your muscles the same way as they will be loaded when you hurtle down the hill, quads burning as you struggle to carve out just one more turn before you have to stop and get some relief.
Because weak muscles drive poor technique which results in more wear and tear on your muscles which drives worse technique which can cause accident and injury.
Because as we age, we lose flexibility and our muscles get tighter. Tight muscles are weak muscles and, well, see #2.
Because skiing is expensive and physical preparation will ensure you get full value for your money and spend more time on the hill than in the chalet because your legs cannot do one more run.
Because some solid functional training, that is, training focused on challenging your body the same way as it will be challenged on the ski hill, will not only make you a better skier, but will give you more enjoyment from a sport you have committed to in every other way.
So where to start?
There are plenty of online videos and articles that cover preparation for the ski season. For the unique and disciplined reader, this may be enough. Most people abandon the convenient “at home” training program because it is just that: too convenient. That is, training that is easy to put off until later, or tomorrow or… never?
Check out your local gym to see if they have any ski specific programs you can jump in on. This might be a good time to meet with a personal trainer and get tips on individual muscular weaknesses you should focus on or tight areas to stretch out. The objective is to do a ski specific tune up, to strengthen and prepare your body for the best ski season ever!
Wendy Hunt’s professional career spans over 25 years working as a nurse and clinical researcher in the biotech industry. An avid cyclist, tennis player and cross country skier, Wendy brings her love of sport and her healthcare background to offer a unique perspective on issues related to health and fitness.