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Preparing for Ski Season

- Posted by Kevin - Posted on 11/08/10 09:47AM

The first step in being or staying prepared for any upcoming ski season is to try and stay in shape throughout the remainder of the seasons with some cross training.  Running, backpacking, cycling and climbing are all good sports to keep your legs in shape during the off season.  Because skiing utilizes a fairly unique stance for balance, you will still get some soreness around your shins and directly under your rear end, but keeping in shape should significantly cut down on the initial days of pain following the season opener.

Keeping in shape will also help you while you are out on the slopes.  As an instructor, I notice a trend very common both in the children and adults when not in shape.  This is that their legs get tired before anything else and then their mental state collapses because they are focusing so much on the pain in their legs.  Very often, this will lead to them frequently stopping on the slopes trying to regain a sense of feeling in their legs.  The result is actually that the legs do much more work in the long run from all of the starting and stopping while on the mountain.  Entering the season with a higher threshold for pain to this area of your body helps tremendously.

Some at home exercises and stretches you can do to help eliminate or at least minimize the previously mentioned pain can be done pretty much anywhere and anytime.  The only way to emulate the slope of a ski slope, is to find one.  Find your closest steepest hill and stand facing downhill, alternating standing straight up and in a horse stance every sixty seconds for 10 minutes.  While doing this, be sure to keep your toes pointed straight ahead of you (as if you were wearing a pair of skis).  You can stretch this same area by hand by sitting on the floor, keeping your legs straight in front of you and pulling the top of your toes back towards your body.  Do this stretch for thirty to sixty second intervals for a total of ten minutes.

You can simulate the weight of the ski boot by using ankle weights or even walking around for a period of time in your ski boots every day for two weeks before the start of ski season.  Ankle weights can be found at any local sporting goods store and can usually come in a variety of weights from 2.5 lbs - 20 lbs.

Doing any or all of these exercises in the month leading up to opening day on the slopes should ultimately help prepare your body for that first time out at the beginning of each season.  Along with this, practice your skills and build your mental preparation by remembering, your probably going to fall, just enjoy yourself when you stand back up.