Do you warm up before you hit the slopes?
The warm-up is a super important part of any dynamic workout and you are reading this column because you want to get the most out of your skiing and get a great workout. Remember, skiing is great exercise but great skiing is fantastic exercise. The warm-up activates the body and prepares it for specific sport-related dynamic movements.
Now, when the team is on the road I do an aerobic workout as soon as the athletes are dragged out of bed. We go outside in the dark and start with a quick jog and we do a variety of movements including lunges and shuffles to lengthen the muscles and to stimulate the nervous system. All of these movements get the blood flowing and lungs going. This is usually when the sun starts to fill the eastern sky with that beautiful alpine glow.
Then we have a quick stretch session. Never stretch cold muscles because you would actually be lengthening your tendons, not your tight muscles. We do not need loose tendons.
All of this will take you about 15 minutes, you will feel great and will be ready to take on the world.
The warm-up does not stop here however. The first run or two is part of the warm-up as well. The best skiing warm-up drills are without poles, so leave them at the bottom and up you go.
My favorite is the rollerblade drill:
Go to an easy groomer and put your hands on your knees. Now listen carefully as this is the important part: do not turn your skis, but rather let your skis turn. Use the same stance and body position as you did when you used to play tennis — knees bent and same distance apart as your feet and then some forward pressure on your boots. Relax and go. Slowly. Now hands on knees and gently use your hands to move your knees in unison so that both of your skis go over on edge. All you want to do is push your knees, and let the ski do the rest. You have a deep relationship with your skis and this relationship requires good communication. Take the time to listen to your skis and they will tell you what they need. If you aren’t listening, then the tails of the skis will slide and you will be breaking rather than turning. If the communication is good then you will be carving, smiling and leaving nice pencil lines down that fresh grooming.
If you are rocking this drill by the time you get down to the lifts then you are warmed up and ready for wherever this relationship is going to take you. Just remember “what goes on on the slopes stays on the slopes.”
Dylan Henderson is the head coach for the Whitewater Ski Team