Editor's note: Each month, CultureMap features an exclusive story from Austin Fit Magazine. This month, the magazine offers insight on training for snow sports in Texas. The February issue is on newsstands now.
Training for snow sports hundreds of miles away from the nearest ski resort can be challenging. Both snow skiing and snowboarding require muscles that people don’t typically use and can put a lot of strain on the quads and lower back, meaning that even very active people can find themselves sore after the first day on the mountain.
Good preparation can help avoid some of that soreness as well as reduce the potential for injury. Here are some ideas on how to get your body in good skiing and snowboarding shape, even in snow starved Texas.
If the gym is your thing, then use core-building exercises like crunches, sit-ups, abdominal machines, and any other method of abdominal strengthening you might prefer. Some of the more creative, not so obvious exercises include working out on Indo boards and half balance domes, like the Bosu ball. These exercises challenge your balance as well as work your core muscles. It’s almost impossible to use one without the other, so exercises that focus on both balance and core are ideal for winter sport preparation.
It’s almost impossible to use one without the other, so exercises that focus on both balance and core are ideal for winter sport preparation.
The key to a successful day on the slopes means a mix of endurance and core strength, but quad durability can take snow sports to the next level — especially when snowboarding. Quad strength is essential for snowboarding basics, like stopping. Working front and side box jumps as well leg presses into your fitness routine can be helpful in building quad strength and dominating on the slopes.
Death Valleys are one workout that I learned in high school and I still find challenging to this day. If you have access to a high school stadium, run the outside curves of the track and then use the stands to run stairs. This works your endurance as well as challenging your muscles.
Nobody likes thinking about getting hurt on the hill, but knee injuries are the most common injuries that the ski patrol encounters. While developing balance is a great way to reduce injury, finding ways to strengthen the inside and outside of the knees can be beneficial. Any type of exercise that has you moving laterally will really work parts of the leg and knee that might otherwise get neglected.
Resistance bands are another great way to strengthen the outside of the knees. This is another area where the Indo Board comes in handy; the effort to keep your balance on the board will work your core as well as the inside and the outside of the knee without any impact. If you aren’t experienced on this piece of equipment, ask for a spotter or hold onto something stable until you get comfortable. Practicing with your Indo Board in the grass or on carpet can also help.
Improving strength and balance are key steps in preparing for a ski or snowboarding trip, but make sure you take the time to work on your stretching technique. Stretching before a day of snow skiing or snowboarding is huge. Once you are at the mountain, the two most important things to keep you in good shape are stretching and hydration.
Taking a little extra time to prepare for your trip is fully worth avoiding an injury while on vacation. The snow is good this year so get planning. What are you waiting for?