9 Exercises to Get You Ready for the Slopes

Hoping to get back in shape before ski season? Check out this list of simple exercises to get you ready to hit the slopes!

Photo by Clement Delhaye
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The widespread social distancing and shelter-in-place may make you feel disheartened about the end of the 2019/2020 ski season, but the pow days will be back soon enough. And the key to hitting the ground running when the snow starts falling is fitness.

Keeping a fitness routine can help you stay in shape and make good turns from bell to bell. The US ski team uses “dryland” training during the summer months to keep their athletes in tip-top shape. But it doesn’t matter if you’re a fitness freak, or more of a fit-this-pizza-in-your-mouth type of person - these workouts benefit those at every level. And you don’t need a terminator-worthy home gym to still feel fit for the fresh tracks.

This workout will help you in two areas: strength and conditioning. Conditioning will help you with the cardiovascular demands from the high elevations, and strength training will focus on building the muscular density required to handle those long, fast turns.

Strength Exercises

Lunges

The lunge is a classic ski workout. This leg- and core-focused exercise promotes stability and strength in the muscle groups you use while skiing. Begin standing in good posture, with knees and ankles parallel and shoulder width apart, knees bent, and back straight. Step forward with your right leg and bend your knee, until both knees are bent at a 90-degree angle. Keep the lower right leg perpendicular to the floor and ankle. Keep your back straight and your hips open. Stand back up and repeat with your left leg. This is one cycle. Repeat with 15 repetitions a set, for 3 sets.

A woman demonstrates a lunge

Wall Sit

Another thigh, quad, and core burner! And all you need is a wall! The wall sit promotes muscular stability and strength in your legs and core, while reducing impact on the joints, and all you need is a wall! Place your back flat on a wall with your legs in front at a 90-degree bend in the knees. Use the wall for support, and engage your quads, core and hamstrings to support your body weight. Maintain this position for 30 seconds, building to a minute and repeat as necessary!

Squat Jump

The squat jump is a high G, dynamic movement. The squat jump motion will feel familiar to anybody who has skied moguls or landed an air, and proficiency in them translates directly to stronger skiing. Start with your knees and ankles shoulder width apart. Puff out your chest, keep your back straight and strong, and bend at the knees. Bend until you are in a low “squat” position, keeping your weight on the balls of your feet. Explode up and jump into the air, landing back in a standing position. You should feel your glutes and hamstrings burning! Repeat 10 times, for 3 sets.

Russian Twists

Russian twists are used to build a stable and strong core. The dynamic nature of this exercise will prepare you for the forces you’ll face while skiing. Lay on your back in a crunch position with your feet in the air, and engage your core. Rise up until your shoulders off the ground. Twist your upper body and touch your knee with your opposite elbow. Do three sets of 20 twists to start.

Planks

Planks, like the Russian twist, above promote core stability. They are also a good way to add variation to your core workout. Get into a pushup position, with your back straight and hips low to the ground. Lower your forearms to the ground, and hold the position while you feel the burn! Start with 30 seconds, and keep adding an additional 15 seconds as needed. The sky's the limit for these, try to make it up to 2 minutes before your trip!

A woman demonstrates a forearm plank

Lateral Hops

A perennial favorite of the ski racing world, the lateral hop will help build stability and strength in the knees, hips, and ankles in a way that static exercise simply cannot. You will need a nice grippy set of shoes and a grippy surface, such as concrete or a tennis court. Stand on one foot, and hop across an imaginary line. As you hop, alternate your foot. Start with small hops, and slowly increase the distance. Focus on shifting your weight evenly from foot to foot when you hop. These will quickly begin to feel difficult if you are doing them correctly. For additional burn, combine the lateral hop with a one-footed squat on each side.

Conditioning Exercises

Burpees

The burpee is a great exercise for raising your heart rate, establishing good conditioning, and building strength. The burpee combines a pushup and a jumping jack to push any athlete to the limit. Start in a standing position, and in one fluid motion place your hands on the ground and hop back into the pushup position. Do a push up, and then jump your feet back towards your hands, getting back up and continuing through the standing position into a jumping jack. Repeat 20 times for 2 sets, focusing on maintaining proper pushup form.

Wind Sprint

The wind sprint is self explanatory. These will hurt, and you will be better for it. Pick two points, ideally about 50 yards apart, and run between those points as quickly as you can. Rest for 30 seconds. Just long enough to catch your breath, but not so long you feel comfortable. Repeat 10 times. Your body will thank you when you can finally ski that 2,000 foot top to bottom mogul run in one go!

A man in a brown jacket and black pants runs down a lane

Photo by Jenny Hill

Long Runs

Long runs will increase your baseline cardiovascular fitness. Cardio workouts like running will increase baseline fitness, the foundation upon which all fitness is built. Adding a run to your routine will give you a leg up, especially at altitude. A high cardio baseline will allow you to recover more quickly from ski days, which will allow you to cut out the rest day in the middle of the trip. More recovery = more skiing. And who doesn't want more skiing?

Through these exercises, you will have the tools to become the strongest in the group on any occasion. The stability and strength you gain will have you leaving your ski friends gasping for breath in the lift line after trying to hang with you. Give them a shot and next season may bring more impressive results.

If you're needing new gear to get ready for next season, reach out to a Ski expert here on Curated for free, personalized advice and recommendations.  

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Written By
I have been skiing since 2 years old, I grew up skiing in Colorado at Eldora Mountain Resort. There I joined the race team, where I learned to make proper turns. I persued racing until the age of 18 when I moved to Montana and began my career as a big mountain freeskier. I currently represent a numb...

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