“Skiing combines outdoor fun with knocking trees down with your face.”
Old Jumper: “Der Englaender wird sterben.”
Subtitle: “The Englishman will die.” ~Eddie the Eagle
Okay, I think I have everything for my ski trip next month. Let’s
go through the list to see if I forgot anything. First, the usual suspects:
boots, socks, gloves, skivvies, base layer pants and shirt, fleece pullover,
ski pants, puffy jacket, outer shell, hat and goggles. Being a flatlander,
there are probably a few things I ought to pack as a “just in case,”
like chapstick, sun block, granola bars, dried fruit, compass, GPS, emergency
blanket, satellite phone, flare gun, flint, first aid kit, bear spray
and finally, an official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range
Model Air Rifle. I mean, you never know when you might run into Black
Bart or a cantankerous moose. Since none of this stuff will actually help
me ski any better, I’ll just do what I always do—fall down
the mountain like a drunk yeti until I finally come to a stop as skiers
pass by yelling, “YARD SALE!!” as I collect all my scattered
Now, with all the latest garb I bought to ski, which also includes my Après
ski outfit complete with bison boots with fringe, there are still preparations
to be made before I head out west. One of the most important activities
is to strengthen the lower body and core to withstand days on the slope.
If you’re like me, you probably don’t get out on the slopes
but once year. Even if you’re in the best of shape, the muscles
used while shooshing down the slopes need to be in good shape to last
the whole trip. I promise that a few weeks of exercise will greatly diminish
the chance of injury on the slope due to fatigued muscles. Below are a
few exercises that you can use that specifically focus on skiing.
Seven exercises to get you ready for ski season:
Leg Blasters: This is a four part, dynamic set that combines squats and lunges. Perform
a full set—squats, alternating lunges, jump lunges and jump squats.
Rest 15 seconds and repeat six times.
Russian Twists: This is a core-specific exercise to build the abdominal muscles for those
turns. Sit on the ground with your knees flexed. Grab a dumb bell, medicine
ball or weight plate and hold it away from your chest. With your feet
off the ground, engage your core and rotate your upper body, touching
the weight to the floor. Return to center, and twist to the other side.
Do three rounds of 10 to 20.
Lateral Hops with Tuck Hold: This combines both isometric and dynamic movements for stamina. Start
with a wide stance. Jump laterally over a low step or foam roller. Concentrate
on landing softly and jumping quickly. Continue for 30 seconds then rest
in a squat or tuck position with knees bent and back flat. Repeat four
to eight times.
Front Squats: This low-rep, high weight move is meant to improve your core and lower
body strength in order to ski upright. Using either a kettle bell or dumb
bell up near your jaw, lower your butt to the ground, keeping your back
straight. Do six rounds of four to six reps.
Lower Back Complex: This three-part movement helps combat lower back pain by strengthening
the lumbar musculature. First, stand with your feet shoulder width apart,
spine arched and lower back contracted. Raise arms upward above your head
and hold for 20 seconds. Next, perform a lunge. Once in the lunge position,
raise your arms up for 20 seconds. Finally, kneel with legs about six
inches apart. Keep your back arched while raising your arms above head.
Hold 20 seconds. Repeat three times.
Single-Leg Deadlifts: A great body stabilizing exercise focusing on glutes, hamstrings and
core. Standing upright, extend your hands and slowly lean forward. Slowly
lift one leg as you lean over, keeping your back straight. Come back to
neutral, and repeat six times. Switch legs.
Jane Fonda: This last exercise is a four-part exercise that activates the glutes
to improve balance. First, lie down on your right side with your right
arm tucked under your head. Raise your left leg and lower it to the floor
behind your right leg. Next, bring your left leg to your chest, activating
your core. Then, with your left leg straight, slowly kick behind you.
Finally, with the left leg straight, lift and make small circles clockwise
for 15 seconds. Then repeat, but counterclockwise. Perform the series
two to three times, then switch legs.
I have performed this whole set, and it takes about 20 to 25 minutes. If
you want to work on your cardio, then a light jog afterwards or even jumping
rope is a good way to increase stamina. Yoga is also great to aid in flexibility
and can be utilized before the trip and after a good day on the slope
to stretch out tired muscles. The average skier can burn close to 400
calories an hour, so it goes without saying to make sure you stay hydrated
and well fed. Now, if you’re like me, you’ll hurt in places
you didn’t know you had after that first day of skiing. However,
with a little preparation, the soreness and risk of injury can be kept
to a minimum.
If you see me out on the slope, please do me a favor and help me up.