Coming from the British Isles, it can be pretty daunting going on your first ski or snowboard trip to the mountains. The landscape, culture and language are all different, but not to worry, most ski resorts are built to accommodate first timers.
You’ll want to maximise your time on the slopes, so try and develop your fitness before you get there. First, start by getting your cardio up to a good base level as you will be at a higher than normal altitude and everything will feel a little more tiring. Swimming, jogging and cycling are all good ways to get your heart beating fast.
Secondly, I would start muscle building, especially around your knees. This involves quads, hamstrings, glutes and calves, which are the active muscles for skiing and snowboarding. By building up leg muscle you are protecting your knees and reducing the risk of injury. Some simple exercises for these are:
- Air squats
- Single leg Bulgarian squats or pistol squats
- Double or single leg calf raises on a step (get that ankle moving too)
Hamstrings and glutes
- Hamstring curls
- Leg clam with elastic band
Check out Youtube for tutorials on these exercises.
Once you’re on the slopes, get warmed up with dynamic stretches and little jumps to get your body moving and those muscles activated. Don’t forget, after coming off the slopes keep yourself hydrated and use stretching exercises to keep your quads, hips and glutes in good shape. Finally, be aware of changing snow conditions and weather. It can be a good idea to carry extra layers, water and snacks to keep you going.
If it’s your first time skiing or boarding, don’t worry. The initial learning phase can be a lot of fun especially among friends, and I guarantee there will be lots of laughs. You will fall over, and undoubtedly there will be some undignified moments, but you will be having fun and learning a skill that can be developed and enjoyed for years to come.
Maisie Potter, Team GB Snowboarder