I sent out a call for questions from my followers as ski season approaches. And I was sent some amazing ones, from mentally getting ready for ski season to how to plan ski workouts.
Let’s go through a few of them today so you can get ready for ski season!
How Do You Protect Your Knees While Skiing?
When you're skiing, your knees are more vulnerable than when you're not. The reason being we are in a ski boot that is locked into a big long lever.
If you think about yanking on that lever sideways, the first vulnerable joint up that chain is going to be your knee.
The first thing you can do is have properly adjusted DIN settings on your binding. For finding that, you either know what you like and want or you're going to take those skis into a ski shop.
A DIN setting just means how much lateral pressure your binding allows before it lets your boot come out.
We don't want your ski releasing if you're not falling because that will cause you to fall. But if you take a crash, we want those skis to release so that you don't have that big long lever attached to the end of your leg.
Number two, there's been some studies that have shown a protective effect of doing lateral plyometrics of building the strength of your quads and your hamstrings.
Building up the muscle around the knee is going to help protect it when you’re skiing.
How Do You Not Feel Fear Going Down the Slope?
I love these next two questions which have to do with your mental approach to skiing.
The first one was “do you have any tips for building your mental game to match your skill or fitness level?” and the second was “how do I get over the fear when I'm looking down at a slope that I know I can ski, but also I don't know that I can ski?”
I totally understand how both of these feel!
I remember going skiing with my dad when I was a teenager, and there was this drop that I really wanted to try, but I was really afraid of. I didn't know if I could do it. I waited at the edge for such a long time until I just went and did it.
It turned out it was such an easy drop and it was well within my skill level. The feeling of being able to ski something and have that adrenaline rush is awesome!
But, I've also fallen down a fair share of ski runs, so I also know what it's like to crash and to have that confidence take a hit.
What can you do to get over these fears?
The first thing is that confidence breeds confidence.
If we spend time working on our skiing skills and we build up some knowledge of what to do on those runs, then two things happen.
First, we're better able to ski the steeper, harder terrain. And two, we have something to really mentally focus on in that moment if our fear is overtaking our ability to perform.
Taking time practicing drills that help you use your torso and that keep your heart facing down the hill. This is a great example of that here.
These things are going to translate into you having confidence to try some new things.
The other thing I wanted to mention with this is if you're approaching a slope or a difficult situation, leaning back or being hesitant, is going to be riskier or less safe than if you're leaning into it.
You want to try and actively move through that situation.
If you're leaning into it, you’re mentally engaged in a positive way, and you're more likely to have a positive outcome.
Does Cardio Training Help With Ski Fitness or Should I Focus On Strength in my Ski Workouts?
Cardio and strength are super important, but if you’re someone who is only going to do one for ski season, I would probably say do strength.
The stronger you are, the easier each turn will be.
Now, getting 150 minutes of cardio per week is so important for you in terms of health and longevity. You are going to feel better as a person and a skier and everything else.
Working on your big muscle groups a couple times a week is going to have an incredible protective effect for women. It's going to help you feel better hormonally as you age.
For women and men, it's going to keep you skiing longer and it's going to keep you independent longer. Both of those are incredibly important!
How Do You Help Your Legs Stand Up to Multiple Days Of Skiing in a Row?
Can you handle five days of skiing in a row? Or maybe you've just planned a ski vacation this winter and you want the ability to enjoy it multiple days in a row.
When it comes to this problem, you need to first figure out what your strengths and weaknesses are when it comes to skiing.
You can find this out by taking our FREE 2-minute quiz which will help find your Skiing Superpower and Kryptonite!
But, if I'm talking about general recommendations, the first is to pay attention to your recovery at the end of the day.
You need to remember that soreness from a muscle isn't often just because you used it. It's often because it's a novel stimulus. It's a new feeling and your body is putting on the brakes.
If we can practice repetitive power movements in the pre-season, you’re less likely to feel sore after your first day skiing and WAY less likely to be too sore going out skiing the next day.
The second thing is to make sure that the way you are skiing is not in a way that's going to make you incredibly sore. You don’t want to be relying on just your quads.
You can check out this video about leaning back and why your quads are sore when you're skiing (bonus points if you do mobility.)
At the end of your day, skiing, getting a little bit of blood flow, using your muscles unweighted through their entire range of motion is going to mean you're less sore going forward.
If you have any other ski questions, talk to me on Instagram or leave a comment below. Have a WILDR week!