Excited to strap into your boots, don your goggles and get into the snow. So are we!

By Abbie MorrisAbbie Morris in blue jacket against an office wall. head shot

4 Simple Tips for a long winter season

Whether you’re going for a holiday or a working season, here are 4 top tips to help you have the best season possible! 

1. Be patient! Give your brain time to reflect on the counterintuitive ski/snowboard movements. Launching yourself down the piste or even off-piste into soft snowy powder on the first run of the season sounds like heaven. Unfortunately for some, this is where the season can end, sitting in powder with a fresh injury because the adrenaline kicked in and the excitement took hold. So take a few runs to find your rhyme and balance. If you haven’t skied or boarded in a while, allow your body the gentle reminder of how it feels. Then go for it. 

2. All activities require fuel, so please remember to pack healthy snacks and water bottles, eat breakfast before setting off and make plans to stop during the day. Easy actions keep you hydrated, avoid blood sugar crashes and maintain energy throughout the day. Not enough fuel can cause fatigued earlier, reduce focus increasing injury likelihood. Some of us will almost experiment. Mood shift when hungry, the hanger. Not a personality trait you’ll want to display if leading a group! 

3. Safe play is the best way. The weather can change quickly and unexpectedly, so be smart and plan for all occasions. Of course, your time on the slopes will be fun, but no one can control environmental changes. So pack extra layers and consider your route for the day. Pay attention to weather reports and familiarise yourself with the resort. Be sure to carry a map with all the lifts and where emergency services can be located. 

4. Recovery is essential. Gradually warming your day of activities will help ensure the body is ready for all the activity demands and fire up the mind and body connection.

Slowly winding down towards the end of the day or run is a simple recovery method but all too often, tired from the fun, we collapse into bed without a second thought about how our bodies feel. Our bodies take longer to recover at altitude, so if you feel fatigued, rest. Most injuries occur when your body (and mind) are tired. There are spas, massage therapists and physio at resorts. They may be worth a visit during your stay. 

Alternatively, a stretching routine at the end of the day will relax your body and mind. Making the following day so much easier for your snow muscles. Ensuring your body stays mobile will reduce your injury risk whilst maintaining the best technique possible. Check out our blog on the top 5 stretches. 

3 exercises to prepare for winter sports? 

Snow has fallen, and the runs look fresh before you rush out and down the mountain. So how is the body feeling? Snowboarder jumping in air

Falls cause the highest percentage of skiing and boarding injuries. Whilst you cannot prevent a change in terrain, or the direction others go, you can train to be more robust, adaptable and in control on the slopes. 

Plan ahead. Consider any limitations you have, time, equipment or perhaps knowledge. If you can address these issues first, you waaaaay more likely to stick to your plan and reach your goals.  Secondly, consider what the goal of your exercise programme is. 

A ski or snowboard workout schedule should consist of endurance, flexibility, strength and balance exercises. Both dynamic sports require participants to react to environmental changes such as slopes, drops or ice. Snow sports ask you to be strong and have great endurance to get down the long runs. Squat holds will be great for building a solid base layer, but this static movement doesn’t fully reflect the demands bombing down a mountain will place on you. So what do you do?! You progress them to jump squats or squat holds standing on a Bosu to get all your muscles firing. 

Whether you exercise at home, at a gym, or with a trainer, start your programme slow, establish a baseline that works for you then work towards your goal and higher levels. If you have any niggles, it’s worth talking to a physio or sports therapist before setting off. You don’t want a niggle rapidly becoming a more significant problem or a winter season-ending injury. 

3 starting points 

1. The squat

Using all your lower limb muscles is an essential movement that can quickly progress or regress depending on your ability.  Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and keep your weight on your heels. Keep your core engaged and lower back neutral as you sit back and drive your knees out over your toes to the second position.

Make sure your knees track directly over your toes, not inward. Progressions; squat hold, jump squats, in-out squats, weighted squats, Bosu balance squats and 180 Jump squats 

2. S/l deadlift

Start by using just your body weight, challenge your balance, and your core and lower limb strength. Keep your weight-bearing leg straight and squeeze the core and glute as you extend one leg behind you, lowering your torso to be parallel to the ground. Check that you are engaged as you push through the midfoot and engage your glute to bring your hips forward and through, returning to the start position. 

Progression: Add a knee drive when returning to starting position, increase the load; perform on a balance board or Bosu 

3. Plank

Remember, this exercise is designed to engage your trunk, quads, glutes, shoulder and arms. Either on your forearms or your hands- be sure to have them directly under your shoulders with extended elbows.

 Gently image pulling your hand towards your feet and your feet towards your hands. Breathe; there shouldn’t be any sagging at your hips, nor should your bum be up to the sky. Hold this position. 

Progression: side planks, putting your hand or forearm on a gym ball, alternating shoulder taps.

Top 5 stretches to try post-ski or snowboard. 

What better way to wind your day down than a gentle stretch? Think of it as your body MOT post piste time, allowing you to reflect over the day and check in on your body.

When doing any stretches, the pain should never be unbearable, gradually go deeper into the movement as your body relaxes; never force the range of motion. Hold each stretch, don’t bounce, and maintain for as long as possible; 30sec to a minute is fantastic!

  1. Calf stretch 
  2. Pigeon 
  3. Child’s pose 
  4. Quad stretch 
  5. 3d abductor stretch