This is a ski tips column for all skiers; do not let “ski racing” scare you away.
Ski racing is just free skiing at a high performance level, and we all want to ski at our own personal best, right?
I am Dylan Henderson, the head ski racing coach for the Whitewater Ski Team. I am a certified Development Level coach with the Canadian Ski Coaches Federation and a Level 1 ski instructor with the Canadian Ski Instructors Association.
My goal is to give you something to keep your skiing fresh every week even if the snow is not.
November is the month when men stay inside and grow moustaches and women count the days until December when the snow will be falling like freshly-shaven beard hair.
This is also ski movie month. We are tantalized by the well-edited exploits of free-ski rock stars from around the world that create our dreams for the coming season.
I find myself sitting and watching the skiers shred huge runs top to bottom, taking big risks, making fantastic recoveries, and generally pushing their bodies to the limit and I ask: how do these athletes prepare for their season?
Like all athletes, the “free skiers of your dreams” do specific conditioning that prepare them for their sport.
I have an intensive dryland-conditioning program that I do with the Whitewater Ski Team that can help any skier to prepare for the season.
We condition our bodies for reasons other than just making it to the bottom of the run without collapsing in a heap of exhaustion.
We condition our bodies so that we can perform at our personal best and so that we can prevent injury.
I do two workouts every week; the first focuses on core strength and the second on leg strength and agility. Why focus on core strength you ask? We use our core to balance our body as it chases our legs down the hill.
The more core stability we have, the faster we can go and the more dynamic our skiing can be. Leg strength is, of course, very important as well but not just our quads. We can get into trouble by building up certain muscles and not others creating an imbalance which can cause problems.
Through our team’s work with athletic therapist Christy Nichol from Kootenay Athletic Therapy, we also include exercises that are part of a post-knee-injury rehabilitation program.
This has helped to keep the team injury free for the past number of years.
I will give you a few exercises that can help you get ready for the fast approaching ski season.
This exercise is what we call Meka’s torture. Lie on your back and lift your straight legs up keeping your bum on the floor and draw big letters in the air with your feet.
Try POWDER for starters. It should hurt! Then do some other core exercises of your choice. Try youtube.com for some ideas.
Do some lunge walks. Walk with long strides with your hands on your hips, core engaged and drop your knee down to the ground. Feel the burn!
Also, running backwards, tuck jumps, knees up, etc. Keep your reps up — alpine skiing is an anaerobic exercise but skiing all day requires aerobic conditioning!
Have an assessment done with an athletic therapist, so that your joints are properly aligned and so that you have a good balance of strength.
This will keep you skiing at your best for many years to come.
Work hard so that those skiing dreams will come true!
Visit our website at whitewaterskiteam.ca.