GET FIT TO SKI
Updated: Mar 11
”Must get fit. Must get fit. Must get fit.”
How many times, before Christmas, after Christmas, into January do you promise yourself that this is the year you are going to hone the body beautiful and become that handsome ski dude, or delectable ski babe?
”I’ll go DRY for a whole month, well at least a week. Let’s just get through today…..”
You’ve checked the trends, LOUD is in, and you’ve secretly longed for those tiger print strides on that ski website you happened to stumble across. You’ve checked the weather, done your research on potential destinations, and considered the slopes, accommodation and nightlife available.
Now all it takes is a bit of willpower for heads to turn as you make your entrance on the piste.
But, oh groan, all those illicit Baileys, and wild gorging on Chocolate Oranges and everything, with double cream to boot. Sound familiar? Welcome to feeling guilty, I mean, wanting to get fit, for the New Year!
So… how fit do you really have to be to ski?
In answering that question, I suppose first of all you have to consider what kind of a ski holiday you’ll be going on.
Of course, if you are a seasoned off pister, the chances are you’ll need to be fairly fit. Off piste skiing isn’t for the faint hearted, there are often uphill climbs, through deep snow, with kit and skis on your back, or acres of sun baked crud to attack. Some descents are psychologically and physically challenging. Laying out those tracks in the fresh white is the small luxury at the end of an often hard fought physical battle.
Most of us do not fall into that bracket.
Our skiing revolves around the smooth corded pistes created for us by armies of Pisten Bully slope bashers. Yes, there might be some moguls, ice, or poor visibility, but lift systems these days effectively eliminate the ‘sweat’ of skiing and allow us to cover much ground effectively physically unchallenged.
We might be out there early on the slopes, and we might not finish till late afternoon, but we will mostly be gently cruising those groomers and, let’s be honest, our days are always peppered with seriously unhealthy stop offs: the tartiflette for lunch, the hot chocolate with whipped cream, the slice of strudel with vanilla sauce… and that’s not even considering the aperitivi and après ski and wine over dinner.
So being ‘fit’ for skiing is all relative to the type of holiday you’ve booked.
At Wow Ski Tours, we request that you be fit enough to complete 6 to 7 hours skiing a day. This may involve some ‘poling’ (Ladies, a great work out for any ‘Bingo Wings’), a bit of gentle walking with skis over your shoulder, dealing with moguls, ice and any other hazards, as well as being able to ski fast enough to make sure you don’t hold the group back. Enabling us to respect trip timetables as planned, and ensuring we don’t get trapped on the mountain by missing the last lifts or transport.
If you get aching muscles at the drop of a hat, try and anticipate that fact before you climb up the plane steps!
So, with that in mind, I suppose I would answer that whilst yes, it might be desirable to attend the gym, do weights, and bike, run, play tennis, or do any kind of aerobic exercise, the key to ski fitness is to eat healthily, and maintain a sensible and realistic exercise routine.
I’d encourage a brisk walk in the morning, some yoga or gentle stretching, anything that keeps you on the move and flexible. The older we get, the more important this becomes. Flexing and stretching in a ski movement is vital to safe, effective turning, so it’s imperative to practice keeping knees and joints supple.
For a fabulous all round workout, take up swimming. It’s a cheap option and is wonderful for aerobic capacity as well as being kind to over-burdened limbs and muscles.
So … I plan to get fit for skiing this year. I promise, promise, promise, that this will be my last weekend of indulgence. I’m going to BUY those tiger print sallies, and I’m going to be fabulous in my gear.
Remember, skiing IS a sport, you are SUPPOSED to sweat!!