Pre-Season Ski Conditioning

By Doug Nelson
Community Center Manager

Alright skiers! All the local weather experts are predicting above average snowfall for the season. You’ve got a lot of things to get in order; gear, clothing, seasons pass, free up some weekend time…
…and the last thing you’ll think of (or not at all) is getting in shape! There’s a reason why all the local knee surgeons love the ski season. Make that two reasons: one – they can afford to pay for lift tickets and two – their waiting rooms will be filled with injured skiers.

I’ll make this simple; here are 5 effective exercises you can do at home or in the gym to get your body ready for the slopes: Bench Steps, Body Weight Squats, Lunges, Ski Jumps, and Seated Russian Twists.
I would recommend doing these 5 exercises circuit-style, beginning with 30 seconds each with short to no rest in between, running through it 3-5 times. With a rest day between each workout, gradually progress over a 4 to 6 week period to 60 seconds each exercise. But don’t stop there! Now you can kick your pre-season workout into high gear, by adding a pair of dumbbells –ranging anywhere from 10 to 25 pounds.

Here’s a brief description of each exercise: Bench Steps – using a step or stair approximately 16 inches tall, walk up and down leaning forward slightly while keeping your abdominals tight and your back straight. Feel free to change your lead foot from time to time, and pump your arms in unison. Body Weight Squats – using only your body weight to begin with, place your feet shoulder width apart, toes out slightly, and sit back as if into a chair or park bench until your thighs are parallel with the ground. Move up and down with control, careful not to lock your knees at the top. Keep your abdominals tight and your back straight throughout. Lunges – Beginning with your feet hip-width apart, take a modest step back and lower your torso down until both knees bend to 90 degrees, then return to a tall upright positions – repeat on the other side. Your upper body should remain upright and strong the whole time. Ski Jumps – by placing a broom handle, rope, or string on the floor you can create an object to jump over and back in a side to side motion, keeping your knees slightly bent and feet close together. If you get too tired to jump continue striding back and forth. Seated Russian Squats – sit on the edge of a bench or chair, with your knees bent at 90% and your feet off the ground, lean back slightly and rotate your upper body left and right repeatedly.

With four to six weeks of pre-season training, you’ll be able to hit the ski slopes with a strong and fit body. Your skiing will most likely improve as a result, and you’ll recover quicker after long days in the snow. Now pray for snow!!