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Best Ways to Get in Shape for the Winter Ski & Snowboard Season

Ski Season prep working out

Photo: Eric Berger

Winter is around the corner, and there’s no time like the present to get those legs in shape. Before the opening day, it’s vital to get your legs primed; that way, you won’t be crushed for the first week. Getting in shape before ski season can help eliminate fatigue on the mountain and prevent injuries. The earlier you start your training, the better off you will be for the start season. 

Skiing and snowboarding are demanding on the legs and glutes, so it’s best to strengthen those larger muscles with the following exercises. These exercises will enhance the muscles and the surrounding supporting ligaments in joints. In addition, if you have ever experienced knee issues or injuries, it’s imperative to strengthen the stabilizers and ligaments to avoid further damage. 

Key exercises:

A few basic exercises are easy, whether at the gym, living room or in front of the TV. But, along with strengthening your legs, it’s essential not to forget about your core and upper body. If you’re planning to send it big this season, having a solid core is a key ingredient to support yourself while getting sendy. 

Squats - suggested 3 sets of 20 reps 

  • Standing slightly wider than shoulder-width apart 
  • Lower into a sitting position until legs are parallel to the ground
  • Make sure to keep shoulders and hips aligned with a strong core
  • Do not let your knees pass your toes

Lunges - suggested 3 sets of 20 reps

  • From a standing position, move one foot back and your front foot slight forward
  • Bend your rear leg so your knee is hovering over the ground; it should create a right angle
  • Ensure your knee does not pass your toes
  • Pushing off your front heel, rise to the starting position 
  • Repeat and alternate legs after each set

If you find any exercises too easy, try adding additional weights or dumbbells!

Jump - squats/lunges - suggested 3 sets of 20 reps

  • Following the exact instructions as above, but with a jump
  • Pay close attention to your knees; make sure they don’t pass toes or bucket 
  • Lunges you will be alternating legs on each jump
  • Keep core tight and strong to maintain balance 

Russian twists - suggested 3 sets of 20 reps 

  • Sitting on the ground with your knees bent at 90 degrees
  • Flex core and lend back closer to the ground 
  • A weight held in both hands with arms bent twist the weight from side to side
  • For an added challenge, try raising the feet off the ground

Plank - 60 seconds (or work your way up)

  • In a push-up position, hold your upright from your hands or elbows
  • Ensure your butt does not dip down or stick up in the air; it should be level with your back

Get Fit for Skiing

Local Gyms:

Luckily, living in a mountain town, everyone is on the same journey this time of year. Journey straight to the gym. Everyone has the same mentality of getting in shape for the winter season, so there are easily accessible gyms around the corner. Stick close to the hotel and check out the pristine Altitude Fitness in the heart of Creekside. This is the newest high-performance gym in Whistler, with advanced equipment. 

If you’re venturing out into the village, you can visit The Core, right in the middle of Whistler Village. This top-of-the-line facility not only has a large gym, but also you have access to climbing walls. Grab a partner to hit the wall or boulder by yourself. 

If you’re looking for a proper cool-down after your workout, head to Meadow Park Sports Centre. This large facility has various machines and spaces, and then finish your session with a quick dip in the pool or hot tub. Or get your sweat on even harder in the sauna. 

If you’re not feeling completely confident in the gym, not to stress, hiring a personal trainer can help build a workout plan and ensure you’re doing the exercises correctly. Check out which each gym offers to find the right person for you and your needs. 

Ski Season Training

At-home training platforms:

The gym can be an overwhelming place for a newcomer. However, many online workout platforms have been created to work around your busy schedule. You can choose your workout to work on specific muscle groups at any time of the day. In addition, most of the exercises don’t require equipment, which is perfect for the home. Two great platforms for online workouts are The Salty Club and Hustl; each has a monthly subscription. Often they have free trials to see if it would be a good fit for your goals. 

Whether you’re a skier or a snowboarder, preseason training is necessary to have a successful winter. You want your legs to be ready to fire on opening day. With these valuable exercises, you’re on your way to having the best winter yet!