To make sure that you have the best possible time on a budget ski holiday, here are a handful of things you can do before you head off for some fun in the mountains.
Three sets of squats the night before you fly out isn’t going to cut it in the fitness stakes, we’re afraid! If you want to have the most enjoyable ski you can, you need to get your muscles ready for what’s to come.
Kick things off a couple of months before your holiday; this will help to establish a decent cardio-vascular fitness level. Having a better cardio-vascular threshold will mean you deal with the higher altitudes more comfortably too. Having some nice skiing technique in your locker means that you’ll use a lot less energy than having bad technique – so if you get tired after a long day on the slopes, you won’t be finding it hard to control your movements.
Most skiing muscles are the ones we use for balancing and as such, they take some time and effort to get them set for the slope sessions.
Talking of tuning your balancing muscles, why not head to an indoor snow slope centre and kill several birds with one stone? You’ll be dialling in your turns, improving your balance and familiarising yourself with the feeling of what it’s like on real snow before you’ve arrived in resort.
Flexibility is what we’re talking about here. Unlike in warmer conditions, where muscles and tendons will be nice and loose, cold temps lead to stiffness, which you don't want. Some other issues around cold muscles are being slow to react and a reduced range of movement.
Get yourself a well-rehearsed, regular stretching routine that you can run through before your ski holiday and during your stay. This will help your ski performance plenty! Warming up before you hit the runs is super important to avoid injury; make sure you do dynamic stretches, not static ones, or you could pull a muscle.
If you are hiring equipment, then all of what we’re about to say will come in the cost. But for those of you who have your own planks, get a decent service on them before your first time out on the mountain.
This should include the following waxing of the bases and sharpening of the edges, as a complete minimum. You may well want to consider letting one of the ski techs take a look at your skis to check over the bindings, and also get a base grind (a restoring of the structure to the ski base that aids in retaining wax).
All of the above will have you making smoother, easier, more responsive turns. This, in turn, will mean you’ll have more fun as you won’t be focusing so hard on trying to dig your blunt edges in to make good turns!
*The importance of ski boots is a whole matter that deserves its own piece written on it (stay tuned).
It’s worth heading to a ski shop to get some advice if you’ve never bought this kind of thing before. Tell them your budget, so that they are picking out the premium jackets etc. that you can’t afford. You can, however, get yourself some really trustworthy garms for a variety of conditions. Layering up is a good idea for two reasons; one, because you can peel a layer off if you get too hot and two, layers help to trap heat in, so if the temperature drops you’re going to stay nice and toasty as you carve down the mountain. Think about Merino wools as base layers as they have great moisture-wicking, heat-trapping properties.
Everything we’ve touched on will help you prepare for an awesome ski holiday, so stay safe and have the best time!
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