The Best Stretches for Loosening Up After a Day of Skiing

Sore legs after skiing? Pulled muscles keeping you off the slopes? Check out these stretches from Ski Expert Nicholas Carnazzo to keep your body limber this season!

Man sits on his skis doing a stretch.

Photo by Zach Dischner

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Odds are, if you made it to this article, you might be asking yourself some of the following questions.

Now I can't guarantee that this article will meet all of your ski stretching needs, but I developed it for myself and it has certainly helped!

A day of sliding around on snow can bring copious amounts of joy and wonder. All of which can be outshined by the following day limping around, grunting, and hunching over because your body is so sore. But folks, we can avoid this. A little bit of post-ski stretching and light exercises can make a world of difference.

Last season on closing day, I was so hyped to ski and hang out with friends that I forgot to stretch. Toward the end of the day, I ended up overshooting a jump and blowing my ACL. Following that injury was a summer of stretching, rehab, surgery, more rehab, and more stretching, in that order. This last year has taught me the importance of proper stretching and workouts. I realized how much even just 10 minutes of stretching after a full day of riding could significantly impact recovery for skiers.

We work our muscles all day skiing, tearing those muscle fibers, and stressing our joints. Stretching corrects those muscle tears, helps with mobility by loosening your joints after a day of impacts, and will help increase flexibility. We mustn't forget the most important thing we can do for our bodies while recovering; water, water, and more water. Drink up folks and your future self will thank you!

I'll move down the list with you, answer some common stretching questions, and cover the best stretches I have found to keep myself healthy for a full and happy ski season.

Let's get started!

How can I loosen up after a day of skiing?

From the famous words of T Swift, shake it off. Roll your shoulders and neck around, wiggle your extremities and warm up those limbs after a day in the cold. These stretches are meant to cover most of your body and are not meant to be super-specific.

Loosening up

Roll your neck out, shrug your shoulders. Do some of those arm and leg wiggles that you see pro swimmers do. Below are some pictures as examples. Finish it with a couple of quick/controlled squats to get the blood flowing.

Man loosens up on a yoga mat in his house. There are skis in the background.

All photos courtesy of Nicholas Carnazzo

Foam roller/ski pole

This stretch requires at least one ski pole, so make sure not to lose them on the hill. Take your ski pole and use it as you would use one of those fancy foam rollers. Glide the ski pole up and down your leg muscles, and don't be afraid to dig in. It may feel a bit odd, but your muscles will thank you.

Man rolls out his legs on a yoga mat in his house. There are skis in the background.

How can I stretch my hips and legs post skiing?

You may be surprised that your hips do not lie. When tight and hurting, you need to rest and stretch them out. Your legs are probably the most jello-y of limbs after a hard day on the slopes. We need to pay attention to this and execute proper stretches to help with recovery! The following stretches will target your hips, muscles, and legs. This includes the inner thigh, glutes, and the back sides of your hips, hamstrings, and quadriceps.

Targeting those hip flexors

This is a pretty cool one, and you can act pretty casual while doing it. You can do this in almost any seat. Sit down, and bring one leg up. Rest your ankle on the top of the opposite knee. This will look like you are relaxing after a long day, but it will provide a pretty awesome hip flexor stretch if you push that knee down slightly!

Man stretches his hip flexor on a yoga mat in his house. There are skis in the background.

Side lunge

This will also help those hip adductors and is pretty straightforward. Stand up with your feet shoulder-width apart. Keeping one leg straight and bending the other, hinge to the bent leg side. You will feel this stretch in the inner portion of the thigh on your straight leg. Hold for about 25 seconds, switch legs and repeat!

Man does a side lunge on a yoga mat in his house. There are skis in the background.

Posterior hip stretches

This is meant to target the hip rotators. Move into the following position on your hands and knees. From there, slide one knee forward and position your shin to face the ground. Make sure your hips are facing forward and that your shoulders remain square. You can then settle into the stretch and hold for about 25 seconds. Switch sides and repeat.

Man does some hip stretches on a yoga mat in his house. There are skis in the background.

Calf stretching

This will obviously target your calf muscles. You can use a small ledge, stairs, or even a hard chunk of snow. This stretch will target your entire calf and, if done correctly, will provide a deep stretch of the whole muscle. Ideally, this is done on a set of stairs at home, without boots, but there are plenty of apres versions out there.

Man stretches on the stairs in his house. There are skis in the background.

On the same set of stairs follow the following sequence of photos. Put your toes on the edge of the stairs and press your heels down toward the floor; hold for 30 seconds or so. You can also add an upwards lunge standing up onto your tippy toes for an extra stretch/exercise.

Man stretches on the stairs in his house. There are skis in the background.

For the ski boot/apres, find a ledge or hard piece of snow to prop your toes up on. Then press that heel to the ground, hold for 30 seconds or so.

Forward lunges/dynamic skiing stretch

This stretch is meant to target the quads, glutes, and some upper thighs. You can do this at your car or at home on some stairs. Start by bringing your leg up and placing your foot on something about knee height. From there, lunge forward slowly to hit that sweet spot, you will feel it in the quad; hold for about 15 seconds.

Man does a lunge on the stairs in his house. There are skis in the background.

Switch sides and repeat!

Variation: You can also throw in some arm extensions to get that full dynamic stretch. Follow the above steps, and after hitting the sweet spot, twist your upper body and extend your arm upwards. See the below pictures for further examples.

Decompressing the spine after skiing

With all the bumps and turns of the normal ski day, your back can start to feel pretty tight. These stretches will help alleviate that pressure and stretch out that spine. We will also target some core muscle stretches in this sequence as well.

Spine twists

This will target your lower back, upper back, and shoulders. Start by sitting on your bum with both legs flat out in front of you. Bend one leg at the knee and bring your foot over the top of your other leg right beside the knee. Cross your opposite arm behind the bent leg and turn your head over the opposite shoulder. This one is a bit complicated to explain, so please see the below pictures for examples of how the stretch is done. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat on the other side.

Man stretches his back on a yoga mat in his house. There are skis in the background.

The lay down

This is a stretch of my design, and I have found it is a very peaceful and decompressing exercise. I know it sounds a bit weird, but hear me out. You start off by lying flat on your back. Extend your legs flat, and stretch your arms up above your head. Then point your fingers up and your toes down. From there, you just let your full body go limp and just lay there for a bit. As long as you want really. You will feel your body just decompressing. This is a great stretch to end this entire sequence. You’ll stand up feeling brand new.

The cat is not included or required for the stretch!

Man stretches on a yoga mat in his house. There are skis in the background.

Conclusion

We have concluded our stretches, and our body is feeling nice and limber. What now, you may ask? Drink some water, enjoy an apres bevy, or maybe go home and get ready for your next day of shredding! As always, be safe, know your limits, and please do not try to over-stretch.

If you need a recommendation for a good foam roller, yoga mat, or gear to get you out on the slopes, reach out to a Ski Expert on Curated. We'd be happy to chat through any questions and get you some personalized recommendations for keeping your body healthy and happy this winter season! Cheers and happy stretching!

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Written By
So I have been working in the outdoor industry for over 4 years now, skiing for 11, and biking for 4. Most of my professional experience is in the ski and outdoor industry. I went from Ski bummin at a resort job fitting boots and selling my favorite skis. Where as now I rock the weekend warrior sche...

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