Ski Conditioning = Overall Conditioning

I have been skiing for almost 50 years. I have lived in the valley and put in about 100 days a year on skis for the last 17 years. In those years I have patrolled, raced backcountry and even helped manage the racecourse on Snowmass. I would not say I’m a great skier but I can confidently say that I understand skiing.

I have also participated in skill sports as part of triathlon. When training for specific sport goals or performances, it is important to keep in mind the overall goal and not to do anything that could harm that trajectory.  Kind of like the hippocratic oath, “First, do no harm”.  That being said, I have never seen an instance where better overall conditioning did not improve specific sports performance.  Want to ski better? Don’t just strengthen your quads; drop some weight, improve core stability and work on leg strength.

There are few better examples of the need for functional fitness than the seasonal skier.  The athlete typically has at least a 6 or even 7 month break between efforts and expects to jump right back in the same level they left sport in months earlier.  Add to that, changing conditions, new terrain and new equipment and you have a recipe for injury.  I am not even sure what muscles I’d leave out of sport specific training to in order to have “ski conditioning” classes.  Sure, if you are truly fit, have mad skills and want some specific training, then we can make a difference. Short of that, we need to move, cross the midline, build our core strength and add some accessory work; all stuff we do on a regular basis.

Point being, don’t get fooled into thinking fitness and sports preparation are a thing you can just order al la carte and choose to pick them up seasonally.  It takes consistent hard work to be the Athlete we all intend. Don’t sell yourself or your sport short by relying on last minute preparation.  Fitness is a lifestyle.