The beginning of ski season can be a mixed bag of anticipation and excitement. We all look forward to flying down the trail at the speed of sound while arcing the perfect turn or blasting through the trees on that first powder day of the year. We also fear the imminent muscle fatigue that dogs the first few weeks of top-to-bottom runs. Contrary to popular belief, lower back pain, quad burning and tight traps are not predestined states of being out on cold November and December mornings.
To help you get a head start on your strength training for this winter, we’ve asked BCA freeride skiing athlete Veronica Paulsen what she does to mitigate the dreaded DOMs (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) and go into each season feeling prepared to perform and ready to capitalize on getting the most fun out of each minute spent on the slopes.
Paulsen dives into pre-season strength training and conditioning with the intention of getting a jump on the winter and making sure that she’s doing everything she can to avoid injury.
“First off, you'll notice a major difference during the first month of ski season while everyone else is still warming up their legs and you are ready to charge,” Paulsen explains. I also notice that when I am strong, it takes me less time to recover after a big fall. Gaining strength before the season is so important because it really helps with injury prevention. The stronger you can get, the more protected your joints and your bones will be during a big tumble.”
About specific areas she focuses on, she notes areas that increase her balance and precision has her top priorities. “I obviously focus on legs a lot, but besides that, your core and back are extremely important in skiing. I also do a lot of balance exercises to prepare for ski season.”
If you want to shred like Veronica, your training starts now:
Here are four exercises Veronica loves to do in the off season:
Heavy squat cleans—"These will help you improve power, coordination, and fast twitch muscles under load. If you've never done any powerlifting before, make sure to get comfortable with the movement with no weight first. You can even start with a pair of kettlebells instead of a bar.”
Turkish Get-Ups with a small kettlebell—"They really work your core and are a good way to practice muscle control and having all of your muscles work together.”
Bulgarian split squats—"These work your glutes in isolation and are a great way to build strength in your glutes before hitting the slopes.”
Box jumps—"Plyometrics are a great way to train your reaction time and coordination. And mixing these in with heavy lifts is one of the best ways to get your body ready for skiing.”