7 Tips to Enjoy your Ski Holiday

It is hard to ignore the fact mornings are getting colder and days are getting darker.  It is less than 1 MONTH away from opening day of the Snow Season.  Every year at Active Physio we unfortunately spend far too much time rehabilitating ski and snowboarding injuries that may have been prevented.

While we may think of these as “ski holidays”, it is important not to underestimate the high levels of fitness, balance, coordination, speed, impact and force involved.  

1. Cardio Fitness is important

There is no way to compensate for a lack of preparation when you are travelling up the mountain!

A week of skiing may constitute 5-6 hours of exercise a day; pivoting, squatting, turning, bouncing, jumping and falling.  It is unwise to attempt a marathon without preparation, why should skiing be any different?

Start fitness work early and push your endurance and heart rate.  

2. Strength training helps

When landing and turning heavily, 3-5 times your bodyweight will be placed on your knees, hips and ankles.  Having adequate strength and endurance will ensure your body is capable of absorbing this force.  Think of your leg as a spring and the muscles are required to keep that spring functioning well, again and again and again.  

Ensure you can complete a high number of squats / lunges and calf raises without pain or restriction.   

3. Balance is a skill

Falling over on ice, hard snow, into trees or other people can hurt.  Improving your balance can reduce the risk of this.  Start standing on 1 leg with your knee slightly bent then increase the challenge by closing your eyes, throwing a ball against a wall or turning your head side to side. 

4. Become familiar with your equipment

Well fitted equipment, matched to your skill level is essential.   

  • Have bindings adjusted to your level of aggression:  A large amount of knee injuries are caused by bindings not unclipping in a fall, which causes increased knee twisting forces.  
  • Boots should fit:  A simple mantra but well fitting, comfortable boots are key for a good trip.   Loose or poorly fitted boots will reduce your control and increase risk of injury.  
  • Poles:  Can increase leverage and put your body into un-natural positions on falling.  Thumb injuries are also common, so leave your thumb out of the straps unless in deep powder (not normally an issue in Aus).  

5. Warm up before the day / and after lunch.  

Does anyone actually warm up before the snow?   We know that excited feeling to hit first lift and make fresh tracks, though a well executed warm up will ensure your first few runs are sharp.   The benefits of a suitable and targeted warm up are well documented in sports, skiing and boarding are no different.  

Balance exercises, core exercises, gluteal (bum) strength, lunges and some squats are some options.  

6. Get a lesson and ski to your ability

Technique makes everything easier.  

Improving running technique allows people to run faster and further with less energy demand and lower rates of injury.  Being a great skier / boarder doesn’t just happen by itself and needs practice.   Imagine being that person that effortlessly flies past you like they are floating.  

Equally, pointing your ski’s straight down a black run on your first day on the slopes, makes you a danger to everyone.

7.  Enjoy alcohol responsibly.

Funnily enough it affects skiing the same way it does driving.  We know it is a holiday so enjoy in moderation while trying to abstain from the post lunchtime confidence boost.  

Active Physiotherapy offers tailored Snow Fit program that aims to individually target areas of muscle weakness, instability and poor biomechanics.

We can help you to ensure maximum fitness and confidence prior to the start of snow season.  Contact the clinic on 02 6925 7734

Cristy Houghton