Ensure You Are In Good Shape On And Off The Mountain To Get The Most Out Of Your Chalet Holiday
Article authored by Laura May Williams of Fit for the Slopes.
There are many benefits to embarking on a fitness programme before a luxury chalet holiday. Not only will it ensure you can ski all day but you will be in a favorable position to enjoy both the delicious gastronomy on offer and the wonderful surroundings of your chalet.
Both your metabolic response to exercise and the way you ski play a large part in determining how many calories you burn on the mountain, but often the calorific intake can be greater than the calories burned.
By ensuring you trim down before you go, will help off-set any potential weight gain from the delicious mountain cuisine which for many is as vital to the chalet holiday as the skiing!
Rate of recovery is a major component of fitness. The fitter you are, the longer you can ski for; both on a single run and in terms of total hours on the snow. Intrinsically linked is how quickly you can recover between runs and from day to day.
Ensuring you are fit for the slopes will help ensure you’re not too tried to enjoy the luxury of your chalet in the evening as well as increasing your chances of feeling fresh in the morning.
Another advantage of having a good level of fitness is to maximize gains in performance. Mental and physical fatigue can be a distinct limiting factor in improving your ski technique.
There are numerous reasons as to why being physically prepared can reduce the chances of injury: if you are flexible you will be less likely to pull a muscle if you are thrown off balance; by having good co-ordination, agility, balance and being able to stave off fatigue means you’ll be less likely to fall; and a weight loading fitness programme will ensure that your ligaments, tendons and bones are strong making you better equipped to deal with an impact.
Total ski fitness
Your specific fitness needs will vary slightly depending on your skiing level. For example as a beginner, you will need good core and upper body strength to hoist yourself up from falls. Moving into intermediate level, it’s likely that you’ll be spending more time upright, but sitting back in your skis - so quad strength is key. As you become more advanced and you’re skiing more dynamically, plyometric (explosive) power becomes more important.
To cover all bases and keep you strong and safe on the mountain it’s best to work on all five key elements that combine together to make total ski fitness: balance, agility and coordination; muscular strength and endurance; cardiovascular fitness; plyometrics and flexibility training.
There are an infinite number of effective exercises and activities you can do but top exercises in the gym would include heavy squats, deadlifts and weighted step-ups to strengthen the legs and hips and anti-rotation core work (since the core keeps very still when you ski).
And don’t forget that the comfort of your chalet will provide a perfect environment for a post ski stretch session!
Laura is a personal trainer and BASI qualified ski instructor specialising in ski fitness, providing one to one sessions (London based) and on-line programmes for training at home or in the gym. For further information or to sign up see www.fitfortheslopes.com.