By Gill Stewart at
If you are planning to hit the slopes this winter you may want to read on! To get the most out of any ski trip you may need to add some specific training drills that match the strains placed on the body when out on the slopes.
Our ski fitness expert Nicky Parsons advises that there are a number of components that need to be included in a pre ski regime if you want to be able to…….
1. Stay upright! ( and have the strength to pick yourself up if you do fall)
2 Stay out longer and have the stamina to keep skiing.
3.Recover quickly and be ready to ski again next day
For instance one key element of fitness is Cardiovascular/respiratory fitness and we all know that regular Nordic walking will keep our heart and lungs functioning well but Nicky explains
” There are actually 3 forms of cardiovascular fitness training you need to work on in order to gain total ski fitness and these are:-
However, working simply on cardiovascular fitness is not all that’s required. Nicky advises that you also add drills that work on the following skills :-
This plays a vital role in the technique of all snowsport disciplines and without it, both performance and enjoyment are greatly limited. Nicky says “Forward propulsion becomes laboured, turns are less skilful and dexterity on the skis or board is decreased which makes accidents and falls more likely. Training with Nordic walking poles can help with transfer of weight over flat skis, boards and skates as well as ‘edged’ skis, boards and skates (known as edge to edge transfer)”
Balance – this is necessary to help you achieve weight transfer from one leg to another (skiing & skating) or one body position to another (boarding). It is greatly aided by good posture which provides the vital strong core and stability when in a flexed position. Good balance is also vital for technique development and performance which both lead to greater satisfaction and enjoyment on the slopes. A further benefit of having good balance skills is that it is an important factor in injury prevention and working on it is a great way to develop strong core and lower body muscles.
Co-ordination Good co-ordination between the upper and lower body ensuring they work with rather against each other is an essential skill which is important in all skiing and boarding disciplines. It is also vital to work on it if you want to execute faster and smoother techniques, turns and jumps.
Rhythm – This element is an important way to ensure you are making full use of each area of the body (upper body, core and lower body) which powers you at the correct point of the technique. Good rhythm enables efficient action and smooth weight transfer in slalom turns and also aids the correct timing when initiating a turn, especially when using pole plants downhill. Finally it both feels and looks good when out on the slopes!
Muscular power and strength
Each are needs strength for a reason – Lower body muscular strength aids balance, explosive leg action and the ability to maintain stable postures for longer periods. Upper body muscular strength aids technique and posture and core strength also aids balance and the ability to maintain stable postures for long periods. It also allows more powerful upper and lower body actions e.g. during slalom and jumping.
Agility and speed of reaction If you want to improve speed without loss of technical action and performance you need to improve your ability and reaction speeds. This is also an important factor for avoiding accidents, collisions and falls (negotiating sudden obstacles/sudden changes in terrain/poor visibility)
Often overlooked but absolutely vital, good flexibility aids performance and is an important factor in injury prevention if a fall does occur. It can only be developed by constant practice after every Nordic walking session and ideally via a daily stretch programme.
The best way to gain all these elements of ski fitness is to join one of our qualified ski fit Instructors for the NWUK 6 week course which works on each one progressively in order to hone your body into a strong, flexible, powerful, balanced, rhythmical and super fast skiing machine! Instructors trained to deliver the programme were all trained by Nicky Parsons and will have the ski fit icon next to their name on the NWUK website.