Prepare for the snow season

Prepare for the snow season

How you should prepare your body for the ski season

As skiing and snowboarding have become increasingly popular, many enthusiasts often ask why they should prepare their bodies for the upcoming snow season. Like any other demanding physical activity, the truth is that snow sports require a certain level of fitness and conditioning to avoid injury and optimise performance. Skiing particularly involves a complex combination of strength, endurance, agility and balance. The additional challenges of these seasonal sports mean that your muscles will have often forgotten what’s required of them between trips to the snow; this makes your preparation even more important to mimic these skills.

If your body is not prepared for the stresses of skiing, you may be at risk of injuries such as sprains, strains, and fractures. More importantly, skiing also requires a high degree of cardiovascular fitness, which is crucial to ensure you don’t fatigue easily and can enjoy long days on the slopes without feeling exhausted. Preparing your body for the ski season involves executing a varied training regime that includes cardio, strength, balance and flexibility training.

Additionally, it’s beneficial to work with a qualified physiotherapist, instructor or trainer who can assess your fitness level and help you to develop a personalised program tailored to your unique needs. In conclusion, preparing your body for the ski season is vital in ensuring you can enjoy this exhilarating winter sport safely and fully.

By undertaking the necessary preparations, you’ll be able to ski or board longer, reduce your risk of injury, and have a more enjoyable experience on the slopes.

Why do I need to prepare my body for the ski season?

Skiing and boarding are sports where you are required to hold positions for long periods of time which result in higher levels of fatigue on your muscles and stress on parts of your body. Fractures, sprains, strains and head injuries are the most common ailments which affect skiers, and evidence indicates that skiers with lower skill levels and less experience are more at risk of injury.

How do ski injuries occur?

Ski injuries are predominantly the result of falls, responsible for up to 73% of incidents on the Victorian slopes. The most common ski injuries are to knees, with head injuries, shoulder, thumb and wrist injuries also having a high prevalence. Knowing this, prevention is possible with activities that assist in training your balance and leg strength, awareness, endurance and muscle control.

With poor physical preparation being a major catalyst for injuries, these do tend to coincide with times on a typical ski trip when the body is either unused to the movements or fatigued. According to UC Davis, these include:

  • The first day
  • Early mornings, before the body is warmed up
  • Later in the day, when the body fatigues after hours of activity
  • At the end of the trip, as the cumulation of a week on the slopes

Why is Pilates the ideal to prepare you for the snow season?

Whether you’re a skier or a snowboarder, incorporating Pilates into your routine in the weeks before the snow season has many benefits:

  • Reduce your likelihood of injury
  • Improve your performance through greater strength, mobility and control
  • Increase your body awareness
  • Build your confidence when skiing or snowboarding

Pilates specifically develops your muscular endurance while you maintain form by building layers upon each exercise and encouraging great form. This in turn also aids your flexibility and mobility, crucial to the movements incorporated in snowsports.

With up to 40% of snow sports injuries affecting the knee, preparing this joint is a key area of focus for the program. Not only will you strengthen the muscles around your knee, but you will also focus on maintaining your knee position over the middle of your foot which happens through great control and endurance in the muscles around your hip and pelvis and improved body awareness. You will also learn to maintain a supportive foot arch to help facilitate this knee position.

Having a sufficient range of motion in your ankles, knees, and hips also helps your body facilitate sudden and sharp changes in direction. Alongside this leg strength and control, your core muscle system allows ideal positioning and stabilising of your upper body while the lower body moves. This prevents you from unnecessarily energy expenditure, reducing the feeling of tiredness at the end of the day. It is also critical to reduce the chance of falls and why it’s potentially a great injury prevention!

If you’re planning to hit the slopes this season and would like to discuss a program that could help you prepare, contact our sister company Return Pilates to discuss their Fit to Ski program. Being prepared for the snow season will help to ensure you have an enjoyable time on the slopes.



Published July 5, 2023


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