Snow is flying, resorts are opening and you want to shred!! If you are like most people the thought of “warming up” for a ski day doesn’t exist. I admit I’m guilty of it as well. My "warm up" is putting on my boots and making my way to the lift. This is followed by joining the rest of the people stomping their feet or shuffling skis back and forth in an effort to get warm or stay warm. You can still take this approach, but you can add a few things to help prep you for the ski day. Plus, if you’re like me knocking on the door of 40 it’s a good idea to do something before hurling ourselves down the hill.
If you are looking simply get warm, try doing some other kind of exercise to start off the day. This helps increase your core temperature and can also help keep you warm throughout the day. Think of it as being warm from the inside. You don’t have to go bananas in a workout to accomplish this. Do something that breaks a sweat and gets you good and warm. This could be as easy as jumping on a stationary bike or doing some simple calisthenics to get moving or a combination of air squats and burpees. If you are trying to get warm at the hill and don’t want to end up on Jerry of the Day from doing random stretches in the parking lot you have a few other choices.
1. Steal your buddies camper van and do some simple stretches before heading out on the hill. Since this is unlikely you can go with the next option.
1. Steal your buddies camper van and do some simple stretches before heading out on the hill. Since this is unlikely, go with the next option. 2. Think about the things you use when you ski. Mostly legs, right? Your legs are tied to your hips, low back, and even our lower leg gets put to work as well from flexing boots. The most beneficial type of stretching to prep for a workout or physical activity is called dynamic stretching. This is taking your joints through a full range of motion. Static stretching is the type of stretching where you hold positions for extended periods of time. This is often more beneficial after exercise or physical activity.
The dynamic work is great because it can both warm up your joints and help increase your core temp as well. Simple movements like an air squat, some lateral or regular lunges, leg swings, etc can go a long way to help get you prepped for skiing. You may already see some people doing this unknowing while holding their ski poles and doing single leg swings. Great option since we can squat in our ski or snowboard boots. Some easy twisting at the waist to warm up the low back can be added in as well. A few alternating lunges in the snow can be helpful but also difficult to balance depending on what you have on. A good substitute could just be finding some stairs to do a few laps on. Don’t complicate this. When you get warm, you know, and you should feel a noticeable difference in your muscles feeling more supple and loose. Once you feel this, hop in the lift line for some runs.
3. Lastly, and the most important, in my opinion, is doing some warm-up runs. Assuming you aren’t charging for first lines on a powder day warming up for skiing can be done by… skiing. Take the time to go on some easy runs you are familiar with. Start by working on quality turns and getting your feet under you. Focus a bit on “how” you are riding and trying to make small adjustments to improve. After two or three runs you should be feeling better and ready to build up speed and hit some more technical runs.
Take the time to add some of these things into the start of your ski day. Play around with what you think may work well. Try different approaches, and over time you will find some routines that work well for you. Stick with it, get warm, and go ride!