How To Get Ski Fit

By Sam Kelvey

Many of you will be going skiing or snowboarding over the next few months… But are you ready? Whilst this might be a yearly occurrence, you still need to prepare for it to maximise your time on the slopes.

Do you adapt your workout routines and training methods to help you prepare for snow season? Or do you only give it the annual cursory nod in your gym work?

Boosting your skiing and boarding ability

Changing your routine to prepare for your trip doesn’t necessarily mean putting in the hours under the squat bar like Lyndsey Vonn, but it should encourage a little more attention than Eddy The Eagle.

Whatever defines your enjoyment of the snow season, even a short term, relevant training programme can make a huge difference.

A targeted workout can help you improve your recovery for more quality runs, reduce your injury risk, provide better strength for tighter turns, and help you achieve more height off the jumps.

There are countless small improvements you can make to your fitness to help get more out of the experience.

Key exercises that should feature in any snow sport programme

 I’ve been helping clients with specific workouts and programmes to help maximise their time on the slopes for a number of years. Here are some of my top recommendations that will help boost your fitness and ability:

Back squats

These will help build absolute strength to improve your turns and jumps, and boost overall fitness. Try 3 sets of 8 reps.

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, and turned so your toes are pointing at 10-to-2 (on a clock face )
  2. Stand tall, back straight
  3. Lower your hips towards your heels, keeping your torso as tall as possible and knees pointing in same direction as toes (knees CAN go further forward than toes though)
  4. From the bottom, maintain torso shape and push through your heels to return

Single leg exerciseslunges and stand-ups 

Ideal for those skiers, these single leg exercises will ensure you can perfect control and balance before you hit the slopes. Again, start with 3 sets of each exercise, but you’ll need to do 8 reps on one leg, 8 reps on the other.


  1. Holding dumbbells, stride forward and try to get bum to heel. Torso stays upright throughout.
  2. Strong push to return


  1. Sit on a bench or tall box. Without throwing your weight forward, try to stand up using only one leg
  2. Lower slowly on one leg too to return to a seated position

Rotational ‘core’ exercises

As you’ll be working from your knees a lot on the slopes, you’ll need an especially strong core. There are lots of exercises for this, but a great one to try with the suspension machine is the Paloff Press. Do 3 sets of 12 reps, on each side.

  1. Standing side on to a cable, set at chest height. Lift the weight (start at 8–10kg) and step away.
  2. With whole body facing at 90 degrees to the cable, push the cable away from you, stating in line with the centre of your chest.
  3. Bring the weight back in slowly, keeping the tension on throughout

Glute, Hamstring and Ankle strengthening

Whilst this exercise will help you develop your posture, it’s as much for injury prevention as anything else. Do 3 sets of 4 repetitions on each side.

  1. Begin standing on a low step or a few stacked weight plates, on just one foot
  2. Drop off the step landing on the same foot (a hop, but without the jump), with soft knee, back straight, and weight through your mid-foot
  3. Return to the step gently

For each exercise try to increase the range of motion and the weight you use.

Improve fitness with intervals

For a solid fitness base that will meet the demands of repeated ski runs, and compliment the strength improvements, a mix of lactate tolerance and endurance is advantageous. Try alternating interval sessions (ideally on a bike) between…

3 x 90 second sprints with 90 seconds of rest between each. Repeat for 2-3 sets


3 minutes of effort at about 80% of your Max speed. Do 3-4 reps, with 2 mins active recovery between them.

Perform these intervals on separate days. Aim to increase the speed or resistance at which the efforts are completed at to ensure you keep improving.

Maximise your time and ability on the slopes

Workouts like this will guarantee you’re in the best shape to properly enjoy and make the most of your snow holiday this year.

If you need any help with the above, or to see if they are the right exercises for you, just get in touch with me.

The SnowFit Package is an 8-week semi-tailored programme designed to challenge all abilities and increase your physical capacity for the snow season.

Contact for more information. This is not available anywhere else!

Sam is one of the only Accredited Strength & Conditioning coaches in the area, with many years experience in supporting performance sport, including International downhill skiing.

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