Getting Ready for the Ski Season

The last time Sarasota saw snow, albeit fleeting flurries, but snow nonetheless was in December of 1989. In 1977, snow fell in Miami and actually stuck to the ground long enough for front page photos. Fortunately, for skiers and snow-sports lovers, the Ski Club of Sarasota doesn’t wait for the rare snowflake to arrive. Since the snow doesn’t come to them, they take their members to the snow.

For the past 25 years, the Ski Club of Sarasota has provided well-planned ski trips to snowy peaks across the U. S. and the globe, from Aspen to Zal-Am-See, Austria. The excursions to “fabulous resorts” include: January trips to Snowmass, Colorado and Whistler/ Backcomb, British Columbia; a February sojourn to Mt. Bachelor in Oregon; and March trips to Zell-am-See, Austria and Steamboat, Colorado.

Need the gear? Shopping online, while perhaps convenient, might not be the best choice for ski gear given the importance of a good fit. Shopping locally for the stuff you’ll need on the slopes is covered by Environeers in Sarasota. With brands including North Face, Patagonia, Arcteryx and Helly Hansen, they’ve got you covered.

Trip is booked and the gear is packed. But you’re not quite ready. To get the most out of a skiing sojourn, some strength training is a must. And whether a novice or experienced skier, it’s wise to train focusing on core and leg exercises, not only to ski your best, but importantly, to avoid injury.

Sarasota-based personal trainer Blaine Bott, who has trained many a skier, says “any fitness program you can do before your ski trip is beneficial.” But he adds that incorporating a multiplanar program “will deliver a complete workout that not only involves every major muscle group but includes movement at each joint through every plane of motion.”

Bott says the balanced training a few weeks prior two to four times a week “will improve the rough movement patterns brought on by skiing.” Bott suggests incorporating four movements into one’s existing exercise program.

Mini Band Lateral Walks (2×10 each)

Standing in a quarter squat position with feet shoulder width apart and mini band above the knees. Moving to the right, push with the left leg while stepping laterally with the right. Bring the left foot back to the starting position and continue for the prescribed number of repetitions. Repeat while moving to the left.

Chop from Half Kneeling with Cable Bar (2×8 each)

Set up in a half kneeling position so that the hips, knees, and ankles form a 90 degree position on both the left and right sides; the stance width will vary from 0-8 inches apart. The head should be and remain in a neutral position throughout the exercise. Once the beginning position has been accomplished, grab the cable bar with both hands and place the top hand at the top of the cable bar. With the down hand, begin to pull the cable bar down keeping it close to the chest until the arm is straight. Then take the top hand and press it down until the arm is also straight.

Inverted T-Balance (2×6 each)

Stand on your left leg with your arms raised out at your sides. Keeping your back flat, slowly bend forward at your waist while reaching your right heel back and toward the sky. Pause when you feel a stretch in the back of the upper thigh of your down leg, then return to the starting position and repeat.

Step-Back Lunge with Rotation (2×6 each)

Step backward into lunge with left foot and contract left glute. Twist over the front leg by taking left elbow to the outside of the right knee. Reverse the twist back to neutral and return to standing position by pulling through with left hip flexor, and immediately step into lunge with other leg.

Bott says the second phase of getting ready for your ski trip is introducing a plyometrics routine for 3 to 6 weeks prior to leaving. Having huge benefits for reducing lower extremity injuries in skiing when combined with the multi-planar training, the goal is to train for maximum force production in the shortest period of time, reps are low and intensity and effort are high. Incorporate these four progressive movements to maximize your abilities:

Jump Rope – 1×20 each of 4-5 exercises

Increase your foot quickness, improve your balance, and improve your handeye- foot coordination. Always use flat smooth surface. Ideal surfaces should absorb your jumping movements. Jump on the mid-foot, always keeping a slight bend in the knees never landing straightlegged, starting slow and mastering few types of jumps.

Box Blast (3×10 each)

Standing with one foot flat on a box and arms bent at the elbow to 90 degrees and cocked back. Jump vertically by throwing arms and exploding through the front leg, extending your hip, knee, and ankle. Land in the same starting position, without pausing, and immediately take off the same foot, repeating the jump for 10 repetitions. Repeat with the other leg.

Lateral Jump to Stabilization (3×6 each)

Standing with hips perpendicular, on two legs in athletic stance, hop laterally over one hurdle and stabilize. Reverse direction and repeat. A more advanced version can be increased to a continuous movement.

Depth Drop Jump (3×3)

Stand tall with your arms bent 90 degrees so your forearms point straight up. Maintaining this bend in your elbows, depth drop down from box, throw your elbows down and back as you sink into a squat position by bending your knees and lowering your hips. Using your arms to help generate force, immediately jump straight up, extending your hips, knees, and ankles. Land softly with your knees bent, hips back, and arms back behind you.

Lastly, Bott says, incorporating an intensive stretching routine in order to both protect the joint and make it more receptive to the plyometric benefits is a must. Always start your sessions taking the first 10-15 minutes to perform Dynamic Mobility movements to increase body temperature, activate the nervous system, increase range of motion, and correct limitations.

For more information on getting your gear, check out Environeers at 5373 Fruitville Road, Sarasota, call 941-371-6208 or visit the website at Environeers.com. For more about the Ski Club of Sarasota visit SkiClubOfSarasota.com or call 941.951.8516.