There’s nothing quite like the rush of excitement and anticipation that comes with gearing up for a day of skiing or snowboarding. The crisp mountain air, the sound of skis carving through the snow, and the feeling of freedom and exhilaration as you glide down mountain faces. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a first-time skier, hitting the slopes is an experience that is sure to leave you feeling invigorated and alive. But, as with any high-intensity sport, it’s important to take the necessary steps to ensure that you’re properly taking care of yourself both during and after your time on the slopes.
First and foremost, it’s important to take the time to properly stretch and warm up/down your muscles. Before you attach to your bindings at the beginning of the day, and when you wrap at the end, spend a few minutes focusing on the following stretches:
- Hamstring stretch: Sit on the ground with your legs straight out in front of you. Reach forward and try to touch your toes. Hold for 15-30 seconds and repeat 2-3 times.
- Quad stretch: Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Bend one knee and bring your heel towards your buttocks. Hold your ankle with your hand and push your hips forward. Hold for 15-30 seconds and repeat 2-3 times on each leg.
- Inner thigh stretch: Sit on the ground with the soles of your feet together and your knees bent out to the sides. Slowly press down on your knees with your elbows. Hold for 15-30 seconds and repeat 2-3 times.
- Calf stretch: Stand facing a wall with your hands on the wall. Take a step back with one leg and bend the front knee. Keep your back leg straight and heel on the ground. Hold for 15-30 seconds and repeat 2-3 times on each leg.
- Shoulder roll: Stand with your arms at your sides. Slowly roll your shoulders forward, then backwards, then down and up. Repeat for 10-15 reps.
This will help to prevent soreness and injury, and will also aid in the recovery process.
It’s also important to pay attention to any aches or pains that you may be experiencing after a day on the slopes. If you’re experiencing soreness or stiffness, it’s a good idea to apply heat or ice to the affected area, and to take an over-the-counter pain reliever such as ibuprofen. If the pain persists, it’s always best to consult with a doctor or physical therapist.
Like most sports, it’s essential to stay hydrated. The high altitude and cold temperatures can dehydrate your body quickly, so it’s important to drink plenty of water or sports drinks throughout the day. Additionally, it’s a good idea to eat a well-balanced meal before hitting the slopes, as this will provide your body with the energy and nutrients it needs to perform at its best.
Finally, it’s important to take the time to relax and unwind after a day of skiing or snowboarding. This can include activities such as reading, watching a movie, or practicing yoga or meditation. These activities can help to reduce stress and tension, and will also aid in the recovery process. A massage, warm bath or shower can also be a great way to relax your muscles and ease tension.
Many of us are excited to get out onto the mountain as soon as we arrive at the resort that we forget about the simple ways to care for our bodies. But you can help to prevent injury and soreness, and ensure that you’re performing at your best on the slopes by staying hydrated, eating well, stretching and warming down your muscles, and taking the time to relax and unwind. Remember to always listen to your body and consult a doctor if you have any concerns. Happy skiing and snowboarding!
Image credit: Travel Alberta John Price