This is a guest post by Mark Prodan, CMH Heli-Skiing & Summer Adventures.
The importance of balance and flexibility for both skiing and snowboarding cannot be emphasized enough. Having a strong core and stretching are two of the most important factors in keeping you injury-free while making the most of steep and deep powder be it at your home resort, in the sidecountry or on your next Heli-Skiing trip.
Strengthening the muscle groups found throughout your lower back, hips and stomach will contribute to better posture. We’ve all been out with skiers/boarders who make it look effortless with their fluid technique. True, some of that is years of coaching but a strong core keeps that posture and alignment, resulting in less energy expended.
• Crunch This! There are literally hundreds of variations of the original sit-up and they are all going to be a little painful at first but stick with it and it’ll get easier. Well, sort of…
• Focus! Concentrate on engaging specific muscle groups. Undoubtedly you’ll feel them when you’re doing the exercises properly.
Stretching is something that most snow lovers are guilty of not doing enough. I overheard a guest at CMH Galena this year admit that they had never stretched before attending CMH Heli-Skiing's optional morning stretch class. We demand so much of our bodies, it‘s crazy not to make stretching before and after big vertical days a priority.
•Further! Traditional stretching before and after not only decreases muscle stress, it also drastically reduces the chance of injuries and improves your overall performance.
•Try it! There has been an explosion in the number of pilates and yoga-styled classes worldwide - and for good reason. If you’ve never been, try a class or follow along with a YouTube session. Almost anywhere you go you’ll find a studio. The benefits of core strength developed by practicing pilates and/or yoga will improve your overall ski and snowboard performance.
If you are serious about taking your riding to the next level then you must commit to taking your exercise routine to there too.
• Steady! Incorporate a stability ball, bosu or balance board and integrate exercises that engage multiple muscle groups. Try doing your squats or curls standing on a balance board. You’ll surely notice all the twitchy, reactionary muscles get worked to keep you balanced just as they do while you’re riding.
Think Long Term
Winter after winter, decade after decade we expect our bodies to react to the demands of boarding/skiing. As the youthful energy fades, wisdom will keep you at the height of your game. Contact your doctor, physiotherapist, chiropractor or personal trainer to get a personalized list of exercises and stretches that will address your aches and pains. Looking after your body will ensure you continue ripping big lines.
What are some of your favourite pre- or post-skiing or riding stretches that have prolonged your snow lifestyle? Share them in the comments here.
Photo: This skier in CMH Galena might need some end-of-day quad stretches after long endless runs of this fun stuff!