Mother Nature takes care of the snow. But it's up to you to provide the rest of what's needed to be a good skier: strength, endurance and speed. Whether it's Nordic (cross-country) or Alpine (downhill), here's how to get more from this winter workout:
- Lean forward: To get a better workout, you want to last as long as you can. And by leaning forward when you're downhill skiing, there's less effort placed on your thighs and you'll be more likely to ski longer.
Advice: Bend your knees so you can actually feel your shins hitting the top of your ski boots. The problem is, many recreational skiers lean back too much, which burns their thighs and fatigues them quicker.
- Practice short turns: Short-radius turning — changing direction every 10 to 20 feet — is one of the best ways to improve your technique as well as increase the intensity of the workout in downhill skiing. This works muscles more than long cruising turns.
- Go slow and steady: When you're cross-country skiing, it's better to not get your heart rate up to its target zone too quickly. Instead, slow down the pace and focus on going further distances.
- Make the most with wet snow: Fresh powder is a skier's choice. However, when the only choice is wet snow, consider it an opportunity for a good workout — at least for the skilled skier. That's because wet snow is heavier and harder to ski. Beginning skiers, however, should be very careful in wet and icy conditions to reduce risk of injury.