Stay in Ski Shape Through the Summer
Ok, so maybe the snow is gone for all but the most die-hard skiers. But there are plenty of enjoyable ways to stay in shape through the summer so that you are ready when the temps drop and the snowmaking cranks back up.
While weightlifting and strength training are key components to a solid ski foundation, there are a ton of other outdoor activities you can do to keep your body in optimal shredding condition. And if you stay active outdoors this summer, then you’ll actually be in better shape than you may think.
Here are the best cross-over sports can you do outside to get you ready for your best ski season yet.
Photo by Brian Erickson
Trail running—and hiking—are two of the best ways to stay in shape for ski season simply because it requires very little equipment: just a good pair of running shoes or hiking boots. Trail running and hiking not only beefs up your legs to carry you the distance, but it also increases cardiovascular health and endurance—two very important factors in skiing. “Trail running is awesome for the impact and agility practice, as well as strengthening of the ankles,” says fitness trainer and pro skier Crystal Wright. “This really benefits the quads and mimics eccentric loading,” which is when your muscle stays contracted while lengthening (like during the downward motion of a squat), the most optimal way to strength train.
Photo by Axel Brunst
Road biking and mountain biking require similar efforts to skiing—your legs, arms, core, and heart are all firing—but the added coordination is where mountain biking surpasses road cycling in terms of ski fitness. While navigating over rocks, roots, and ruts, your small stabilizer muscles are working to keep you upright on your bike. The ever-changing terrain also requires uninterrupted concentration. “Mountain biking is awesome for cardio and power, but it is not an impact sport like skiing,” says Wright. To get your muscles ready for impact, she suggests mixing it in with trail running and hiking.
Photo by Fionn Claydon
Surprisingly, rock climbing is one of the best crossover sports, according to Wright. “The core strength and finesse of climbing is very beneficial to skiing,” says Wright. “The goal is to use your core when you ski, and climbing is very similar. It’s also about being light on your feet and meticulous about foot placement on the rock, which translates well to your skis.” Rock climbing also teaches you to move through fear, become comfortable being exposed to the elements, and trust your partners, which also translates to the mental skills involved in skiing.
Photo by Anupam Mahapatra
Yoga (and Pilates)
Yoga and Pilates are two other holistic cross-over sports that benefit every type of athlete. They both combine balance, strength, endurance, and concentration—all key components in skiing as well.
Yoga, in particular, is great before and after skiing, and should never be overlooked for its ability to prepare the body and mind for whatever your day throws at you. “Yoga is amazing for mobility—and you need more flexibility to ski than people realize,” says Wright. “It also helps if you crash so you can move and bend a certain way to prevent injury.”
If you don’t have a crossover sport that you enjoy, Wright recommends adding leg blasters, Russian twists, and single-leg deadlifts to your workout routine to prepare you for bottomless powder days. And if you’re in the Jackson Hole area, or just want to join via Zoom, check out Wright Training for more ski-specific workouts.
Want more workout ideas? Click the link to fitness-specific articles here.
Words by By Erin Spong
This post was originally published in 2020 and has been updated for accuracy.