Coordinated Health

Gear up for ski and snowboarding season

Gear up for ski and snowboarding season

By: Kaitlyn Nonnemacher, FMS   October 29, 2015

If you’re into the cold outdoors, then it’s that time of year again! The leaves are changing, the shelves are restocked, and a new season of skiing and snowboarding gear emerges. No matter what your skill level is, you are beginning to prepare for ski and snowboarding season.

Skill level, snow conditions, population, age, equipment design, and physical abilities play a role every season on the slopes. Our bodies are what keep us going. Our muscles, joints, and physique are the most important piece of equipment so why not invest in that the most? Coordinated Health’s Human Performance Training will help you improve your athletic abilities on the mountain based on your current goals and abilities to minimize any risk of injury. Frequency on the mountain and any physical accommodations are necessary to work around based on your conditioning goals.

The majority of our population will either only ski or only snowboard. There are some individuals that participate in both. In this case, proper conditioning is significant. According to the National Ski Area Association (NSGA), around 22 percent of snowboarders ski and 16 percent of skiers snowboard in the U.S. (National Ski Area Association, 2011). Overall, injuries have decreased over the past 50 years mainly due to improved equipment design. If a piece of equipment would ever malfunction, it is important that our bodies are in shape enough to handle any sudden impacts; basically any mobile joint.

You’ll realize that both skiing and snowboarding overlap the basic conditioning fundamentals when training. There are still many subjective and objective risk factors that come into play when you’re out there on the slopes, but at least we can improve neurological and muscular abilities and focus on any foreseeable risks of injury.


When it comes to pre-season conditioning, give yourself about 6-8 weeks to train and prepare for that first day on the mountain. The forces our bodies are subjected to when we ski or board are so large that it is senseless not to be physically prepared to handle them. Think of it this way, a child did not learn to run before it could crawl.

Four major areas to focus on in order:

  1. Mobility
  2. Balance/Stability
  3. Strength
  4. Power

Mobility: Specifically your lower extremity and thoracic spine, but overall. Foam rolling is significant if you lack mobility in certain areas.

Balance: Even though we stand on both feet, much of our time is spent with our weight on just one leg. Single leg balance is ideal.

Strength & Power: Shock absorption and less work on the mountain. You’ll have better control in your speed and change of direction.

Below are some strength training exercises to expect in a general skiing and snowboarding conditioning program:

Single Leg Squats: The idea is that you are balancing on one leg as you squat with your body weight or with weights. There is a handful of variation to this exercise.

Single leg deadlift: The idea is that you are balancing on one leg as you deadlift with your body weight or with weights. There is a handful of variation to this exercise.

Jumping variations for power – Double leg, single leg, forward, backward, and lateral movements

Upper body: Variations in forearms, shoulders, chest, neck, back, and core strength

Training equipment to consider: Dumbbells, resistance bands, a slide board, trampoline, BOSU ball, and Medicine ball. Unless you are recovering from an injury or need special accommodations, stay away from machines.

In order to understand what functional strength & conditioning program is right for you, please come into one of Coordinated Health’s three Human Performance training facilities. I or one of our other highly qualified fitness coordinators will take you through a thorough one-hour evaluation to see what personalized or small-group program is best for you. Not one body is the same. We focus on quality over quantity.

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