Can CrossFit prepare me for ski season?

CrossFit is a potent exercise program that can help you gain strength, power, speed, endurance, and stamina. Not only can it help you prepare for the ski season; it can make you a better athlete overall.

Skiing and snowboarding require attention, focus, and fitness.

Bombing downhill is a leg burn. You’re turning, twisting, jumping, speeding, and stopping on a dime. For the alpine enthusiast, it’s a long, slow slog up the hill, punctuated with fast trips to the bottom. Whether you ski the backcountry or resorts, the steeps are demanding, and the standard CrossFit program is uniquely suited to prepare you for them.

Bomb downhill on skis

How does CrossFit get you ski/board ready? Let’s take a look:

  • Lower body strength. The simple act of running generates a lot of force on each leg (2-4 times your own bodyweight). Bumps and jumps multiply that force. Heavy squats and deadlifts will prepare you by building strength, as well as improving coordination and balance.
  • Lower body stamina. Ever heard “My legs are on fire, brah!”? Chalk it up to a lack of lower body stamina. Long, unbroken sets of bodyweight and jumping squats will help mitigate this problem by increasing your lactate threshold.
  • Unilateral movement. Most skiers, when faced with a difficult turn, will try to take it on their “strong leg.” Strength imbalances like these can leave you vulnerable to injury when you’re tired. Lunges and step-ups will help build strength evenly in both legs, allowing you to feel confident no matter which leg is downhill.
  • Upper body strength and stamina. Long hauls uphill (Berthoud Pass, anyone?) and along cat tracks are greatly improved if you can push and pull with ski poles. Pullups, pushups, and other upper body strength movements will help you cruise through these obstacles.
  • Snowboarding requires core stabilityCore stability. Skiing and riding at your limit puts you in unpredictable positions. CrossFit’s weighted and gymnastic movements require you to maintain lines of tension through your entire body, building overall stability.
  • Anaerobic capacity. Whether you’re skiing or riding, you’re constantly alternating between hard work and rest. CrossFit’s classic model of high intensity interval workouts  are particularly well-suited to boost your capacity for all-day adventures.
  • Injury prevention. One of the best reasons to cross-train with CrossFit is injury prevention. CrossFit’s protocol of whole body exercises leads to better body awareness and muscle balance that could save you on the slopes.

We know how we’ll be getting fit for the seasondo you? Join us every fall for our Powder Prep Program on Tuesdays and Thursday get yourself pumped. Combine these classes with our general fitness CrossFit classes, and you have a powerful recipe for owning those big powder days. We’ll see you on the slopes!

Want to get fit for the season?

 - About the Author -

Adam Knickelbein, owner, coach and personal trainer

Adam Knickelbein

Adam is a CrossFit Level 2 Trainer, with extensive experience coaching people from all abilities. He oversees all aspects of programming and coaches group classes. Read more about Adam.

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