Ski season is upon us and I could not be happier. Just as we prime our equipment for the season, we must too prime our body. That’s right, just keeping your skis and boards in great condition is only half the battle. Our body should go through preparation, too. “But I exercise occasionally, shouldn’t I be okay?” Just as with any strenuous job, task or sport, proper pre-season training, strengthening, and daily stretching (in the correct patterns) is recommended to prevent injuries while cutting down a slope.
Now think, when was the last time you saw anyone stretch before heading up the lift. When was the last time you thought about preparing your body for the slopes? Pre-season and in-season training is important to help reduce the stresses of the activity on your body – meaning less injuries and less soreness. Having the right strength in the right place at the right time can help you power through turns, control stops, and crush pow (when there is some).
I amongst others here at BRG see skiers and boarders of all ages. Sure, there’s a percentage of injuries that occur from the daredevils of the slopes, but some injuries are simply preventable with proper strength, flexibility, and technique. While all patients’ needs vary, there are some universals that will always help when shredding the mountain. One thing is evident watching any pro skier or boarder—their control of movement both on the ground and in the air. The body, skis/board, and head – all in control. Remaining in control under always changing conditions is the name of the game. There are a few keys to successfully controlling your movement. Much of this control has to come from the lower body – but where? The group of muscles categorized as the quadriceps helps to control the flexion/extension mechanism at the knee. However, the unsung heroes (which usually sing after skiing/riding) are the three hip muscles categorized as your gluteals. The glutes play a huge role in stabilizing the hip and subsequently controlling multi-planar motions at the knee. With the glutes strong and active along with a well trained core every bump, mogul, and jump can be absorbed and properly controlled.
With the right instruction and proper training you have the ability to prevent injury, enhance skills, and have a great time out on the hill. The research supports training as described above to help put yourself in an optimal scenario. However current research also states that equipment failure and third parties must also be accounted for so do not forget to always check your equipment and know your limit and ski within it.