THE BEST CROSS-OVER SPORTS TO GET YOU READY FOR SKI SEASON
If you’ve been active outside this summer and fall, you might be in better ski shape than you think.
Ahh, Fall. The second-best time of year when the summer heatwaves have subsided, the trees shed their year’s worth of foliage, and ski movies drop to get everyone stoked for the season to come. But are you physically ready to hit the slopes in a matter of weeks?
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 get your body in optimal shredding condition. And if you’ve been active outdoors this summer and fall, then you’re actually in better shape than you may think.
Here are the best cross-over sports can you do outside or safely distanced to get you ready for your best ski season yet.
Trail running—and hiking—are two of the best ways to train 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.
Mountain BikingRoad 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.
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.
Yoga is another holistic cross-over sport that benefits every type of athlete. Yoga combines balance, strength, endurance, and concentration—all key components in skiing as well. It’s great before and after skiing, too, 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.” Check out our recommendation for 5 Perfect Yoga Sequences to get you ready for skiing.
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.
Cover Photo by Fionn Claydon
Article by By Erin Spong