Stategies for Getting Back on Snow

by Matt Gelso, Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation Gold Team

GoldTeamEagle2013-300x224While some are lucky enough to get on snow during the summer on glaciers in the US or Europe (since that is something that recreational skiers do all the time, I know) most of us are not. As such, it is very important to make sure your first few sessions back on snow are productive and worthwhile. Summer training is different than skiing, even rollerskiing does not exactly mimic the fine motions and balance associated with good skiing technique. So whether you have been biking, running, hiking, or even rollerskiing, it is a good idea ease your body back into skiing and remember that it is much more taxing than many other sports. Here are a few tips to get you through the first couple sessions:

1) Do not overdo it your first time on skis. This goes for both duration and exertion. Your body needs time to adjust to being on skis and everything associated with that. You won’t do yourself any favors by going out for too long or going too hard. Any technique gains you made over the summer will not be sustained as you get too tired. I have gone too long my first ski of the year and paid for it by being wiped out for the next two days. It is more beneficial for your body to adapt by doing a few shorter workouts with rest between them to recover. 2) Think about technique and skiing technically well. Make sure you are transferring any technique improvements from the summer or previous year by focusing on them on your first few skis. Try to remember and apply them on snow. Bring a friend so you can help each other. You can take video and watch yourself to see if you are skiing how you think you are- many times you think you made a technique improvement but you actually didn’t and video will show you that. A few minutes skiing with no poles and/or one pole will help with timing and balance. 3) Have 5-10 on snow ski sessions before doing intensity. If you have done intensity and rollerskiing in the summer/fall be around five, if not be around ten. Skiing is hard on your body, especially after six months not doing it. It is important to get your muscles attuned to skiing motions before asking them to go fast. This is not to say you can’t do intensity the first day on snow, but it will most likely not be very productive if you fail and fall into old bad habits with your technique. Take time to prepare your body properly so that your muscles, technique, and balance are all there for you to use to ski smooth, fast, and efficient. You have all winter to ski hard, give yourself the right preparation to do that. Even as a ‘professional’ ski racer I still think about these three items during the first sessions on snow. The goal is to get your feet under you and set yourself up for a good season. Also remember not to get too serious, enjoy yourself out there! A new season is beginning with fresh snow and fresh tracks on the way!