Getting fit for ski season doesn’t take a fancy gym membership. What it does take is general cardio training– biking, hiking, running, or even vigorous walking–wand some specific strength training that will improve your performance on snow. Just ask Tyler White, who runs iSport, a training facility at Killington that’s a branch of the Vermont Orthopaedic Clinic. Tyler has helped everyone from Olympic gold medalists and NBA players to middle-aged moms and dads get stronger for the season ahead. His emphasis is doing key movements correctly. “If you let bad technique go, it’s going to become worse technique,” Tyler likes to say. Bad technique, or simply doing whatever it takes to accomplish an exercise, like a squat, means weaknesses get weaker, strengths get stronger and the imbalance can lead to injury down the road. To improve strength and balance for skiing, Tyler suggests these six movements (don’t call them exercises!), performed correctly. Doing this series for five weeks pre-season will help you ski better, reducing that early-season burn, and hopefully prevent injuries.

–Peggy Shinn

Bent knee side step with a mini band

With an elastic miniband around your ankles, step laterally, pushing down through your feet with each step. Toes pointed forward. Two steps right, then two steps left. Repeat three times. Do 1-2 sets. This movement strengthens hip (gluteals) and quadriceps muscles, thereby improving stability.

bent knee side step
Single leg multi touch

Single leg multitouch

Stand on one leg with the other reaching behind you. Simultaneously flex your ankle, knee, and hip in one linear plane as you lower your body and touch the floor with your fingers. Do not let your knee or hip wobble to either side (out of the linear plane). One rep involves dipping three times and touching the floor in three places: on the left, in front, and on the right side of your foot. Do four reps for each leg. This exercise will strengthen your legs individually, improving balance and leg strength.

Bulgarian split squat

Rest one foot on a bench behind you, then squat down with the other leg. Do not let your knee cave to the inside, keep it in line with your foot. Do 6-12 reps per leg, and 2-4 sets.This exercise strengthens quads, hamstrings and glutes and helps you overcome a favored side.

Bulgarian Split Squat
Side Rotation with resistance

Side rotations with resistance cord

Hook an elastic resistance cord to an anchor (such as a door knob), then stand sideways to the stretched cord. Take a “ski stance,” then push into your feet to anchor your legs and hips as you pull the cord across your body, twisting your core (but not your hips). Return to the start position with control. Do 5-12 reps. per side, 2-4 sets.

Side lunge

From a standing position, step quickly to one side and squat on that leg. Then quickly rebound to the other side and squat on that leg. Step on your mid-foot, then transfer weight to your heel as your lunge. Do 8-12 reps each side, 2-4 sets. This movement trains your body to handle the lateral movements of skiing.

Bulgarian Split Squat
Side Plank

Side plank

Lie on your side, then prop your body up on your elbow. Your body should be in a straight line (don’t drop your hip) with weight on your elbow and outside of your foot. Hold for 20-90 seconds each side. Do 2-4 sets. This movement strengthens abs, glutes and shoulders.

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