Get fit for heli skiing and don’t be caught floundering in the powder this heli ski season due to sore muscles; with a little pre ski season workout you can get your body ready for the mountains.
Training your body and choosing exercises to get fit for skiing is a nebulous concept at best. After all, how hard is it to prepare for heli skiing or boarding when you are just carving through deep powder and then riding a helicopter back to the top of the mountain?
Don’t be fooled into thinking that heli skiing fitness is over-rated. You’ll be using muscles that most likely, you haven’t engaged a lot during the off-season. And keep in mind; heli skiing and heli boarding are definitely high intensity sports. You can enjoy your heli skiing trip a lot more by preparing your body ahead of time. In the end, you won’t regret investing a little time and doing the right exercises to get fit for skiing…but you may regret it if you don’t!
Preparing for Heli Skiing
Our Northern Escape Heli Skiing team would like to encourage you to take a minute and think about how to get fit for heli skiing this year. It snows a lot up here and the conditions are always changing. You will be continually challenged as you move from waist deep powder to blue ice! The more physically prepared you are, the more you will enjoy your time on the slopes. Keep in mind that we also provide snowcat skiing backup, which means you will ski a lot…virtually every day of your ski trip!
There are specific skiing and snowboarding cross training exercises that you can do to help awaken your dormant muscles. With the right ski fitness training, you can avoid injury, and minimize sore aching muscles and the need for Ibuprofen to get you through the day.
Cross Training Exercises
These cross training exercises are used to train professional athletes in a variety of sports like tennis, basketball, and volleyball. They also work well for those who like to heli ski and heli board.
Plyometric Exercises – Commonly referred to as “plyo” or “jump training,” Plyometric exercises are designed to help increase your muscle speed and strength. These might include hopping on one leg, jump squats, and jumping over objects (or onto a box, step, or bench). These are explosive, non-aerobic exercises that help to fine tune your muscle responses.
Interval Training Exercises – This is a type of workout where you would alternate between high intensity and low intensity exercises; the low intensity acts as your recovery period. Interval training helps to improve your overall fitness level and might include sprinting, running, biking, or rowing exercises.
Weight Training Exercises – Also known as “strength training,” working with free weights helps to create lean muscle tissue, improving your endurance and the strength and size of your muscles. To get fit for heli skiing and heli boarding, training your quads and abs is important, but you must also strengthen the opposing muscles, your lower back and hamstrings. Using free weights helps to improve your range of motion and balance, which are a big part of heli skiing and boarding.
Flexibility Exercises – Stretching and yoga exercises improve the range of motion in your muscles and joints, and help to minimize injury.
Recommended Heli Ski Workout
- Upper Body Muscles – A rowing or pulling motion for upper back, a chest muscle press and/or a bent over row.
- Arm Muscles – Curls for biceps, reverse curls for triceps and a flying motion for pecs and rear deltoids.
- Core muscles – An abdominal resistance and lower back resistance. Balance balls are great to challenge both. Try a seated crunch on the ball with one leg extended.
- Plyometrics – Start in a squat, thighs parallel to the ground. JUMP straight up and reach your arms to the sky as your feet lift off the ground. Repeat 10 times, break for 15 seconds only and repeat 10 more. This is an ideal exercise for increasing power fast twitch muscle fibers.
- Stability – Squats and lunges on the balance boards to increase the stability around your knees. Any uneven surface like sand will work as a substitute.
- Stretching – Stretching is the one aspect of pre-season training that should be done every day, no exceptions.
In closing, there is no training substitute to prepare you for your heli skiing holiday that is as good as getting out on the slopes for a few days prior to your trip. Entertain the idea of a ski lesson from a Ski Professional; they will help you fine-tune your technique and efficiency. While it’s “never too late to get started,” we recommend that you begin your conditioning and strength training at least six weeks prior to ski season, especially if you haven’t been physically active during the off-season.
We can’t stress enough how important a pre ski season workout truly is to get fit for heli skiing; pre-season training is a must for everyone! Hopefully these suggestions will help keep you motivated or inspire you to tailor your own ski workout plan. The reward of not feeling muscle sore and avoiding injury means you will get to enjoy every possible minute in the powder.
Happy heli skiing!!
About Northern Escape Heli Skiing
Northern Escape Heli Skiing operates one of the industry’s largest heli skiing terrains (5,500 sq. km) with 11 ski zones and over 250 alpine runs. Each year, we welcome international guests from around the world who come to ski the deep powder in beautiful British Columbia, Canada.