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Ski and snowboard season is coming. What does it take to be slope-ready?

Ski and snowboard season is rapidly approaching. Before you get lost in dreams of powder stashes, bluebird days, and carving turns on your favorite hill, take a minute to think about getting your body slope ready for a great season.

A wrist sprain or ACL tear can put a quick end to anyone’s season, and it’s not just the beginners who take nasty falls. Getting prepared is something the pros take very seriously, and everyone who plans on hitting the slopes this year should be taking part. Yes, we realize the chairlift does the hard work, but you still need to be athletic to cruise down the mountain. You need skilled movement, muscle, and aerobic fitness to have a great time and get the most bang for your buck. Let’s face it, lift tickets and season passes are not cheap, and the last time we checked, no one was handing out reimbursements for the weekend warrior who tweaked his back.

The good news? You have time to get slope-ready. Here’s how:
Slope-ready diagram

Slope-ready, part 1: Skilled movement

For those that like to geek-out on Kinesiology, coaching, or healthcare, this is where the concepts of specificity and general athleticism collide. On the snowboard, you must be able to maintain your stance while moving from one edge to the other, navigate ever changing terrain, and maintain momentum. If you are keeping track of two pairs of edges, you must do so, while gravity and centrifugal force has another agenda.

What that means: Do exercises that look like your sport! Try long-boarding, use inline skates, perform your upper body exercises in your ski or snowboard stance.

Slope-ready, part 2: Muscle power, strength, and endurance

Alpine sports sometimes require explosive efforts to recover from an almost-fall, unplanned drop, etc. It takes strength to fight gravity. Linking turns, run after run, requires stamina to make the most of your expensive lift ticket.

What that means: Yes, everyone needs to do squats, a few more squats, and then a bunch of squats. We need to be g-force rock stars! Try squats on a balance toy, squats with kettle bells, squats with your kid on your back, slow and fast warm-up squats, and any other type that you can dream up. Practice jumping, lateral bounding, slow and fast step-up or lunge variations.

Aerobic fitness

We all want it, it requires hard work, and we tend to lose it as the weather gets yucky and the daylight hours shorten. People often ride or ski for 2-3 hours, take a lunch break, and hit the slopes for another 2-3 hours. Aerobic endurance is required. In simple terms, the more fit, the more fun! I cannot resist inserting some injury prevention talk… Tired people often fall and get hurt.

What that means: Plan on doing aerobic exercise for 30-60 minutes, at least 3 days/week. Mix it up and keep it fun. Try some mountain biking, running, or elliptical. Do what you enjoy. Remember that alpine sports are intense, so don’t hesitate to work hard.

Join PhysioCare this fall for our ski & snowboard performance training program.

PhysioCare’s own Josh Saylor will be hosting a 5-week Ski & Snowboard Performance program at our Woodinville clinic. The class runs Wednesday nights, October 21st-November 18th, from 6:30-7:30 pm.

Cost is $10/class or $45 for all five! All proceeds donated to the Outdoors for All Foundation.

Space is limited! Sign up at PhysioCare Woodinville or call 425-402-9772.

RSVP on Facebook or download the flyer here.


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