How to Build Ski Fitness for More Mountain Fun

In weeks and months before Vail opens, it’s time to build ski fitness for the winter season. The snow flurries aren’t yet flying, but we’re still thinking about—and training for—skiing. Ski training includes building aerobic capacity and increasing strength. Agility, functional flexibility, and balance training can also help build ski fitness in anticipation of Vail’s opening day.

We look forward to seeing you this winter at Vista Bahn Ski Rentals in top shape for skiing. So here are some aerobic and strength training tips to inspire you toward ski fitness. Be sure to consult with a personal trainer or other certified professional if you’re new to training. And if you’re making a change in your training approach, also seek out professional advice.

With the goal of skiing Vail to the best of your ability this season, get inspired. The time is now!

Agility all the way as we prepare for our fast-approaching ski season! Photo by Mauro Paillex

Aerobic Training to Build Ski Fitness

Before the snow starts falling, continue to enjoy outdoor activities—but add a ski-specific focus into your routine. Here’s how to do just that with no gym membership required:

MOUNTAIN BIKING: Pedal your favorite slopes or trails now to cross train for skiing. Deliberately scan the terrain for obstacles, just like you do when skiing. In this way, you’re working out your body and brain as you choose the best line. Climbing uphill builds aerobic endurance. But biking uphill also trains the muscles you’ll use when skiing moguls and long steeps. When ascending or descending, keep your upper body as still as possible to maintain core strength.

TRAIL RUNNING: Running challenges your aerobic systems, for sure. And running on uneven terrain is good practice for maintaining the agility and focus that’s needed for optimal skiing. Trail running also helps keep other skiing skills sharp, including balance and quick-footedness.

Trail running is a great way to soak in nature during the Fall. Photo by Nathalie Désirée Mottet.

INLINE SKATING: Primarily an aerobic exercise, inline skating mimics movement patterns needed for ski fitness. But there’s no snow required for enjoying inline skating. Seek out a smooth bike path, and roll into fitness. Or look for a paved road with a gradual ascent for more challenge. Take your ski poles out and practice skating with poles. This ski-specific movement works nearly all of the muscles you’ll need for ski fitness this winter.

The above tips are adapted from a SKI Magazine article about pre-season training. This article also offers great tips for other outdoor activities to enhance skiing fitness. And it includes a link to SKI Magazine’s Ultimate Ski Fitness Workout, an eight-week online training program that provides training framework and support.

Strength Training to Build Ski Fitness

In addition to aerobic training, strength-specific training is also an important to building ski fitness. When strength training, aim to target all aspects of your body from legs and arms to shoulders, abs, and stabilizers. And seek to integrate a blend of static and dynamic strength training exercises into your routine.

When the chill hits, hit the gym. Photo by Victor Freitas

Preview types of strength-based exercises that build ski fitness in this article from Outside magazine, “7 Moves That Will Get You Ready for Ski Season.” Many of these exercises can be done with body weight, and in your own living room. Once you have increased your fitness level beyond body weight, it’s time to head to the gym.

In this video, get inspired by Olympian Mikaela Shiffrin as she works to build ski fitness in the summer. In Shiffrin’s routine, you’ll notice a variety of balance, agility, and strength exercises, including plyometrics. Called plyos for short, plyometrics include the jumping exercises shown here that require maximum force in a short time. These types of exercises increase power, speed, and strength.

Also featured here are whole-body strength exercises that require core, leg, and upper body strength. And, of course, there’s cross-training shown here, too, including tennis and swimming. Cross-training keeps training fun while challenging aerobic capacity, balance, and strength.

“The best training for skiing is skiing. So the reason that we do these workouts…cardio, strength…is to get ourselves in shape for skiing. We’re always trying to replicate the movements we do on the hill, so when we get back on the snow it’s not traumatizing.” —Mikaela Shiffrin

Even though, as Mikaela says, the best training for skiing may be skiing, don’t wait until the snow is on the slopes to get fit. Keep up your ski fitness routine year-round until the flakes start falling.

See you Soon for Vail Ski Rentals

We look forward to seeing you in top skiing shape this winter. Stop by VBSR and let us know about your favorite off-season ski fitness activities. We’ll be at our location near Gondola One in Vail Village with Vail ski rentals, repair and tuning services, and gear storage all season long. See you in November when the lifts start running—and the snow starts really falling.