Be A Better Spring Skier

While you may have been squatting and planking to your heart’s content in the preseason, springtime is when the snow snakes come out to play and the corn snow is abundant at ski resorts. In other words, you still might need to revamp your rituals to get you back into spring shape after a long winter of carving groomers and floating on pow days. We talked with Peter Koch, a Safety Management Consultant from MEMIC, to find out how to be a safer, healthier (and better) spring skier.

It’s important to be mindful of three things: what you eat, how you warm up, and how you keep yourself in shape. As far as your diet, nutrition, and hydration are concerned, Koch says that feeling good on-hill comes down to fueling your body with the proper nutrients throughout the day. By staying hydrated with eight 16-ounce glasses of water over the course of the day and providing your body with a good breakfast before skiing, you’re more likely to be on-mountain longer and feeling better overall. Koch advises a breakfast rich with protein and simple sugars like fruits and veggies. (Hello, omelettes!) And don’t forget the snacks, like trail mix, granola, or power bars—leave the overly sugary candy bars at home so your blood sugar doesn’t spike.

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At the beginning of your day, you want your body to be physically prepared for the strain it’ll experience during skiing and riding. By taking a five-minute walk from the car to the lodge, or even the lodge to the lift, you’re giving your body the necessary body temp warm-up before stretching out your muscles. Working from the feet up, you’ll want to use slow, dynamic stretching methods, similar to yoga or pilates, to stretch your calves, quads, hamstrings, hips, lower back, abdomen, shoulders, arms, and back, holding each stretch for 15 seconds on each side.

As far as exercising in anticipation of the corn snow goes, you won’t necessarily make fitness leaps and bounds this far along in the season, but the best workout for skiing and boarding is getting out on-hill. That being said, it never hurts to throw some skiing-specific moves into your routine to work on your aerobic capacity, muscle endurance, core strength, and agility. Try these:

One Leg Ski Squat
Stand in front of a chair or bench and place your left foot on it, keeping your right leg planted on the ground. Squat down, keeping your knee over your toe, and rise back up slowly.  Do three sets of 10 to 12 reps on each leg.

Hamstring Curl
Lie on your back and place both heels on top of an exercise ball. Extend your legs. Put your hands by your sides for balance and raise your hips into a bridge. Once you are stable, roll the ball in toward your butt until your feet sit flat on the ball, then roll back out and sink your hips to the ground. Do three sets of 8 to 10 reps.

Sideways Lunge
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Lunge to the right, squatting over your right knee and keeping your left leg extended. Be sure to line up your knee with your toe. Move back to the center. Complete 10 reps on each side.

So, just like every magazine, newspaper, and news segment states, eating right and exercising is the key to enjoying the slopes all day in the spring. But we won’t blame you if you hit the deck for a beer after that.

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