Lift openings have swept the glaciers and with the O’Neill Pleasure Jam that went down at the Dachstein last weekend, the snowboard season has official started. And while the pros (and some lucky locals) have obviously already started their 100-days-on-snow count already, we know that most of your – and our! – poor souls are still looking forward to their first flakes over Christmas – or even later. But worry ye not, as the good news is that this still leaves you enough time to get in shape to truly rock the trees / kickers / rails this year!
Words by Anna Langer, photos from Emily Sarsfield
And to make sure you get it right, we collected some professional tips from ski cross racer Emily Sarsfield.
Starting off, you’ll probably have to get your body back in shape a bit after those long, cozy autumn afternoon cuddle ups on the couch. Basically any kind of fitness routine that gets your blood and pulse going will work. Emily uses a combination of strength training, cardio, yoga and pilates and we sat down with Lara Baumann a little while ago, to create the ideal yoga session to shape you up. Start to incorporate some kind of exercise into your daily routine and you’ll be bursting with strength come Xmas – of course taking the stairs instead of the elevator doesn’t really count, but you get the point… And in case you don’t, we’ve put together a little routine with Emily at the end of this post.
While working your muscles, another topic to wrap your mind around is your food. You don’t need to commit to a special diet like pro athletes do (even Emily says she had to “get used to eating steaks for breakfast” in her high protein diet). Just thinking about what you feed your body and opting for healthy choices whenever possible should already make more mindful and ergo point you towards better nutrition. In the snow itself everything is allowed tho – eat what you’re body craves and feels like to eat. Which does not mean stuffing anything in your face you might have an appetite for of course, but since a ski / snowboard trip won’t make you lose any weight either (you’ll be building up muscles), there’s no need to abstain from hot chocolate hoping to harvest the rewards by fitting into your old skinny jeans at home.
Once you’ve reached the resort, fit as a fiddle and ready to rumble, don’t start the rumbling quite yet, but give yourself a little warm up phase (tiny as it may be, otherwise you may fall off a cliff like our online ed did last year!) That means using the first day (or runs) to get back on your board or skis and into the basics again. Even Emily gets the re-start treatment – every year! “I get back to see the mountains and do some basic technical work for a week or so in August on a glacier in Europe. We strip my skiing right back to basics starting with snow ploughs and balance work before we build it back up to the high intensity fast skiing I produce in the races. The next time I get to the mountains will be September / October time where I
try to do one week on one week off, slowly getting back to jumping and working on my ski technicalities and tactics of ski cross.” Listen to the experts is all we have left to say.
But with your fitness upped and nutrition dialed, there’s obviously still one thing left to sort out before heading for the jagged peaks: the equipment! Which is a completely different department though, so we’d recommend you check out our Board Test of this year’s best shred sticks for hard goods, and our highlights from ISPO to get a low down
on the latest style and snow fashion trends…
Work Out Routine
Please only do any of the exercises below if you’re in good health and feeling well. You can perform them all as a circuit. But do not rush them! Do them slowly and properly.
Start standing straight with good core posture.
Lunge forward with one leg and ensure your front knee does not go over your front toe to avoid any injuries. Keep your body upright.
10 each leg x 3 sets. To make the exercise harder, you can use dumbbells.
Hamstring curl with Swiss ball
Lay on your back on the floor with your feet on a Swiss ball.
Tense your core muscles to maintain good posture and to not strain the back, raise your bum from the floor.
Pull the legs into the bum by rolling the ball while keeping the hips raised.
And straighten again.
To make the exercise more difficult, you can raise your arms so they are above the head. This means less stability making the exercise harder.
Core plank with side lift
Start in a plank position, keeping the body straight.
Turn your body to the side so you are on one arm, facing sideways in side plank.
Return to centre plank and repeat on the other side.
Ensure you do this exercise slowly, holding each lank position for at least one second.
Do each side 10 times. Increase number of repetitions to make it more difficult.
Squat using Swiss ball against the wall
Stand with a Swiss ball in the small of your back against the wall.
Squat down as low as you can go and return to standing – ensure your knees do not go infront of your toes. Also make sure your knees travel forwards and don’t roll into the insides and keep the upper body upright.
10 times 3 sets. Hold dumbbells to make it more difficult.
This exercise can be done without the ball too, just make sure sure when you squat you are doing the same movement as sitting onto the toilet.
Stiff leg dead lift
Great for the bum and hamstrings! Hamstrings are really important in skiing and snowboarding, as they protect the knees from injury.
Keep your legs straight but do not lock out the knees – keep them soft!
Bend forward towards the floor, pushing your bum backwards (I always imagine I am trying to close a door with my bum in order to do the move correctly).
Once at full stretch, return to standing.
Ensure you do not bend the back….keep the back straight and the chest pressed forwards!
10 times 3 sets
Many thanks to Nick Doughty from UPClinic. Emily is wearing Dare2b clothing and RockTape kinesiology tape to help with injuries and prolong performance on her arm.