Train Smarter to Ski Stronger!

Most of us know the feeling of being unprepared on our first solid day back on the slopes – legs feel like jello, you’re getting bucked by any mogul in sight and you feel as if you’re a baby deer fresh out of the womb.  What if I was to tell you that it doesn’t have to be that way this year?  Whether you ski 100 days a year or take one holiday weekend trip on the slopes, a preseason training program can be a total game changer.  We joined local Utah trainer, Walker Willey, from Burn SLC for the kick-off of his Snow Conditioning Series to get some insight on how NOT to ski like a baby deer in December.  

What are the key components of your Snow Conditioning Series?

We train and strengthen our clients/athletes in the major planes of motion human bodies experience in life and especially when on the snow. Traditional training in the gym, biking, hiking, etc. involve a lot of back and forth or push and pull movements. Those are great and we do use those movements, but your body also moves laterally, rotates, and works on an uneven surface on snow. We focus on push and pull, lateral, and rotational movements, asymmetrical, balance, and agility exercises, and work to metabolically condition. We train the entire body as the connected system it is so that athletes are in prime shape by the time the snow flies and will reduce risk of injury during the season.

What is your biggest piece of advice to give to an average skier looking to start a preseason training regimen?

Get started on a regimen! Skiing and snowboarding are extremely demanding physical activities and having your body properly prepped will make the entire season so much better. Make sure your plan involves training for movement rather than just isolating muscle groups. Proper conditioning is the crucial foundation for you to improve your on-snow performance regardless of skill level. We have had everyone from recreational skiers and snowboarders to pros improve their level of performance after successful training, which has been our #1 goal of our Snow Conditioning series since its inception.


What would you say is the most overlooked muscle group when it comes to preseason training?

#1 Hamstrings. #2 Hip Abductors.

While we mainly think of training the lower body and core for skiing, what would you recommend for upper body exercises?

Push ups, plank variations, rows, squat and press, axe chops, kettlebell swings, burpees are some of our favorites.

Flexibility and strength go hand in hand for most sports.  What else do you do to increase flexibility?

Make stretching and hydrating part of your post exercise, post shred regimen. We are definitely fans of a good apres session on the hill, but prolonged sitting and lack of movement is actually one of the worst things you can do for your recovery and flexibility after a big day. Sitting shortens your muscles and hampers a correct recovery. Stretch your lower body before you saddle up to the bar. Move around every once in awhile and make sure you are drinking plenty of water. Your muscles and fascia need water. We don’t recommend stretching before activity, but we always start with a dynamic warm up. Something to warm the muscles up, get the blood pumping, and get the body moving.

How important is it for skiers to build cardiovascular endurance?

Highly. Skiing and snowboarding are intensely cardiovascular heavy sports. Who wants to bonk half way into a deep day?

What is the best way to recover after a strong workout?

Stretch, hydrate, eat your preferred form of protein within an hour, move around every once in awhile.

What about nutrition? Any go-to foods you use to fuel your training sessions?

Nutrition is huge. You wouldn’t forget to fill up a race car and expect it to perform to its potential. Just like you wouldn’t fuel a car with garbage and expect it run smoothly right? What works best is a little different for everyone and you kind of need to test what works best for your body. I like to train in the morning and am a big fan of a mix of healthy fats, complex carbs, and protein. My go to is granola, peanut butter, coconut, banana, and almond milk. Gnarly Nutrition is a local company that makes amazing, clean, natural supplements and I use their pre-workout before and their protein and BCAA products after big training sessions.

What are 5 exercises that you would recommend for a preseason regimen?

It’s super tough to condense it down to 5 exercises and this is definitely not the only 5 you need. I recommend that when planning your workout you make sure to incorporate cardio, agility, balance, movement, and try to work multiple muscle groups at the same time. 5 exercises that we use very regularly in our programming are:

  • Pistol Squats
  • Deadlift Variations
  • Squat Walks/Waddles with a rubber ankle band
  • Plank Variations
  • Axe Chops

Julian Carr//PC: Will Wissman

“The key components to my pre-season training is summit-oriented, mountain running.  With a dash of traditional training via ‘ski conditioning’ standard set of plyometrics, TRX, yoga, and strength/agility conditioning” – Julian Carr, Professional Skier

Sign up for Burn SLC’s Snow Conditioning Series starting Sept. 28th!

Train beside BURN professional athletes Julian Carr, Pep Fujas, and Dash Longe!

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