Ski season fitness starts in the pre-season

Skier in Terrain Park Breckenridge

The first day back on skis is always “good,” regardless of how fit you are. The feeling of being on skis satisfies a craving like chocolate after a hard day. But we don’t just want “good”; Breckenridge skiers want an experience of a lifetime. So how do you make a good first day on the slopes GREAT? With a little early season ski conditioning.

With fitness in mind, I recently convinced pro skier and fitness coach Trevor Hiatt to let me sit in on one of his pre-season workouts.

Q: What is your background with skiing and ski conditioning?

Trevor Hiatt

A: I became a professional extreme skier 10 years ago and call Jackson Hole my home. I’ve always been into fitness and have over 16 years of ski-and-snowboard-specific strength and conditioning experience. These days I’m a Strength and Conditioning Coach and I’ve been coaching skiers and snowboarders on and off snow – at all levels – for years while I’ve also competed and been featured in ski films.

Q: How does ski conditioning effect athletes and help them when they get on the hill?

Snowboarder Breckenridge

A: Conditioning is very important for injury prevention, overall vitality, energy and stamina on the hill. Being well conditioned means longevity in life and our sport. Nutrition is also extremely important. Everybody is different, but with an aligned conditioning and training routine, everyone can elevate their lives beyond what they think is possible.

Q: What are some important things to consider when designing one’s own conditioning workout?

A: Focus on core-initiated movements that mimic skiing and riding. Choose flexibility- and mobility-enhancing exercises that improve your balance and prevent injuries. Don’t forget to warm up – and warm down – with dynamic stretching to let your heart rate increase slowly. I like to start with moving stretches and finish my workouts with more static stretching, holding for one minute or longer.

Want to try it yourself? Here are a few exercises Hiatt recommends for skiers looking to start their season right:

Aerobic warm up:

Seven minutes of core twisting.

Grab two towels and place them on a hard floor. Twist your upper and lower body, swinging your arms naturally and turning your feet inwards and outwards. Initiate movements with your hips and lower abdominals. Breathe in and out, initiating your lower abs with each twist.  Maintain good posture with your shoulders pinned back, belly button lifted and squeeze your gluteus maximus.

Pillow squats

Three sets of 10-20 reps

Grab two or three large pillows and wrap your arms around them, hugging them as tightly as possible while retracting your shoulder blades (think little triangles on your upper back). Shift your weight to your heels, pull your belly button in, squat down to 90 degrees and stand back up while squeezing your buttocks and lifting with your bellybutton. Initiate these movements with your glutes, imagining that you are pulling your buttocks to the ground, rather than using your quads to simply squat downward.

 Isometric Lunges

What Hiatt explain Isometric Lunges here:

Bulgarian Split Squat

— Chris Vozella