Thinking about the number of years that I’ve been skiing makes me feel old…past it…over the hill, you might joke. But in my opinion, I’ve never been in better shape than I am now!
You see, a few short years ago, I decided to attempt my next level of ski certification, which would (undoubtedly) enable me to conquer the ski world and chase my dreams as a professional skier. I was in my early 30’s at the time, having been too late to realise, a decade previously, that my dream to become a snow-pro was actually more achievable than I’d thought. So I accepted the fact that I’d missed out on the chance to ‘live the dream’ during my 20’s by exploiting my youthful fitness (along with every working holiday visa possible!) and faced up to the reality that, in order to have anything close to a fighting chance of succeeding in such a competitive business, I needed to drastically improve upon my ski fitness…
So I committed myself to ‘Mission Fitness’ (follow this link for more details) and after repeated attempts I eventually achieved my dream of becoming an expert instructor in my beloved sport, alongside qualifying as a Canadian Race Coach & Adaptive (disabled) Ski Instructor!
You can only imagine the nutty characters I met over my years of teaching [you know who you are!]; also whilst training for my latest certification. All chasing a common dream, most of them were a similar age, if not older than me and I estimate that the failure rate for my latest cert. was somewhere in excess of 90%. It still shocks me to think of the thousands of pounds each of us spent on our training, not to mention the emotional rollercoaster ride we all endured, training to such a high level…If only they’d all dealt with the one common denominator, responsible for most of the failures – their ski fitness…and that was a bunch of already-qualified skiers!
So what chance has the average Joe who spends – at best – a couple of weeks in the mountains each winter; why bother?!
Many Reasons for Ski Fitness
Besides the thousands of people every year who go away on a ‘gap year course’ to become a ski or board instructor, whilst lacking a decent level of ski fitness, there are literally millions of us, skiing or boarding recreationally whose physical condition could be described as ‘less than optimal’. I have personally witnessed scores of wannabe snow-pros, wasting considerable amounts of their [parents or their own] hard-earned cash, whose fitness has been the main factor in holding them back from their goal, as well as hundreds of clients who struggle to even pick themselves up on the flats, let alone on a slope!
Fitness goes hand-in-hand with strength & stamina, which are directly related to injury, so if this isn’t reason alone to prepare for the slopes, what is?! Endurance, balance, agility, even the ability to learn new motor skills are all factors affected by fitness. How many of you reading this (including myself), I wonder, have ever been away to the mountains and not prepared fully – in a fitness sense – for what’s about to happen to your body? I vividly remember one time, as a newly qualified instructor, not being able to sit on the loo one morning as I was so sore!!!
The Best Way to Prepare for Skiing…is SKIING!
Fitness Enthusiast, Personal Trainer, Skier, Snowboarder, Surfer, Kitesurfer, Mountain or Road Biker, whichever hat (or helmet) I’m wearing, it all amounts to the same thing; the best way to keep in shape for [and improve] ‘X’ is to practice ‘X’! Yes, if we’re training for a specific sport, there IS such a thing as over training and fatiguing our muscles too much…Yes, it makes perfect sense to perform complimentary activities, such as cycling (for skiing) or swimming (for surfing) and CV & Resistance training (for, err, everything, including life) but there’s no better way to improve at skiing than by SKIING!
That’s why X-Life is SO STOKED to be teamed up with SkiPlex! Not only is it possible to ski NON-STOP for 15 minutes at a time, sharing the slope with only one other person (very occasionally, 2 others) you have pretty-much private tuition during that time. Your ever-watchful instructor standing (literally) right next to, or in front of you…AND now, you can come off your skis, directly into a video-analysis session and / or a personal fitness training session, such as X = Ski Fit, designed especially for you, around your bio-mechanical, on-ski assessment. There’s also the opportunity to get involved with a small group fitness session, X = Ski HIIT, and have maximum fun whilst preparing for your winter holiday!
Get Fit to Ski or Ski to Get Fit!
You probably started reading this article mainly because you share a love for snow, but whichever way you look at it, fitness is a huge part of skiing or boarding. Why not make skiing or boarding a huge part of your fitness; all year round?! It’s fun, it’s great for strength, agility, balance and coordination and it might even keep you fit enough to be dancing the ‘Funky Chicken’ on your 85th birthday!
Next in X-Life’s Ski Fitness series; Bio-Mechanics & Video Analysis…