Introduction

Fit to Ski
People of all ages are enjoying the slopes, and each year the numbers keep rising.  However, in today’s world of time-saving and laborsaving devices, many people have become less active on a day-to-day basis.  Many young skiers and snowboarders have video games, computers, and DVD players that can keep them entertained for hours with minimal activity.  Most adults have office jobs and long commutes, which reduce their activity level dramatically compared to their younger days.  This sedentary existence combined with infrequent bouts of activity can lead to what has been called the weekend-warrior syndrome — caused when a person experiences injury because he or she plays too hard on the weekends, following a workweek that involves little physical activity.

Common injury sites for most snowboarders are the wrists, shoulders, and ankles, whereas most skiers’ injuries involve the knees, hips and lower back.  Younger snowboarders are more susceptible to elbow fractures and dislocations, and those who perform high-speed maneuvers and jumps are more prone to head and neck injuries.  All snowriders need a conditioning program that increases strength, endurance, and flexibility while reducing the risk of injury.  Articles in fitness and Skiing/Snowboarding magazines sometimes feature an exercise or stretch for winter enthusiasts, yet there is little information on complete conditioning programs.  This book will not tell you how to carve down mountains, where to find the best resorts, how to conquer the half-pipe or the moguls, or how to master any of the basics.  What it will do is provide the tools you need to be better conditioned for the activity you so enjoy.

Sport-specific training is an area in which many health clubs fall short.  When someone joins a commercial gym, this new member usually determines an exercise program with the help of a staff member.  The typical program is a general conditioning routine designed for overall fitness — not for a particular sport.  The program resembles more of a bodybuilder’s workout, concentrating on a couple of muscle groups one day and other the next.  Unless medical concerns require adjustments, most exercise programs will be very similar.  Although not necessarily bad, these generic programs could be better designed to meet the specific goals of the individual.  Snowboarding and skiing require the entire body to work synergistically, and the workouts should be more specific to reflect this need.

Fit to Ski and Snowboard offers a comprehensive, sport-specific approach to conditioning.  It is designed to fight the weekend-warrior syndrome safely and effectively.  The programs described here can be adapted for use by anyone, regardless of gender, age, or fitness level.  You do not have to be a member of a health club to use this approach effectively.  Many of the exercises can be performed at home.

The chapters of this book detail how to create a personalized conditioning routine describe exercises that contribute to strength, endurance, and flexibility, and give sample conditioning programs for both gym and home.

Before you start, here are a few basic rules to follow:

  • Before beginning any new exercise program, it is strongly recommended that you consult your primary health-care provider.
  • Execute proper form during all exercises and stretches.  If the form is incorrect, different muscles must compensate — and the more compensation that occurs, the higher the potential for injury.
  • If you experience dizziness, discomfort, or pain, stop immediately.
  • The final rule:  Have fun!