Get In Shape for Skiing and Snowboarding

pre season ski workoutbraveskimom logoWhen you woke up this morning what was the first thing you thought about doing?

Chances are the first thing you thought of was NOT getting in shape for skiing. Still with the North American ski season underway in Colorado, the time is now.

Whether you’re a weekend warrior, serious athlete or couch potato during the rest year, just a few minutes a day now will make a big difference in how strongly you ski and ride come winter.

Rather than put together new workout for this season, I’m going with the “oldies-bit-goodies” approach and sharing Workouts That Work from season’s past.

Workouts That Work

Alpine Skiing:

Get Ready for Ski Season in 15 Minutes  Per Day (All-in-one wonder workout from 2011. Equipment: exercise ball, resistance bands.)

Getting in Shape for Skiing, Alpine Skiing, That Is (Become BFF’s with a big exercise ball. Equipment: exercise ball.)

Telemark and Cross-Country Skiing:

Get Ready for Ski Season in 15 Minutes  Per Day (All-in-one wonder workout from 2011. Equipment: exercise ball, resistance bands.)

Getting in Shape for Telemark and Cross-Country Skiing (Scissor jump your way to joy and strength. Equipment: kettle ball or one dumbbell weight. Video instruction included.)


Get Ready for Ski Season in 15 Minutes  Per Day (All-in-one wonder workout from 2011. Equipment: exercise ball, resistance bands.)

Getting in Shape for Snowboarding (Improve your balance fore and aft. Equipment: bosu ball.)

  • Upsides: Quick, effective workouts you can do at home and with your kids.
  • Downsides: Some special equipment needed.

Get in a Group

Not everyone likes to exercise at home, so if you’re a group exercise fan, check out the offerings at your local gym. Ski and Snowboard conditioning classes usually start in fall. Not only will you have fun working out with friends, but they are a good place to meet other like-minded skiers and riders.

  • Pros: Group exercise is social. You may meet some other skiers and riders and make new friends. Being in a group can hold you accountable.
  • Cons: You need a gym membership if you don’t already have one. You’ll be working out on someone else’s schedule.

A DVD Personal Trainer

band squats ski workoutI’m a big fan of Tony Horton, the LA-based trainer behind P90X and 10-Minute Trainer. I use both of these programs a lot and I love the flexibility of being able to workout on my schedule.

P90X takes a lot more time, but the “legs and back” workout is outstanding for skiers. Horton, himself, is a serious skier and he knows what he’s doing.

10-Minute Trainer, obviously, is going to take a lot less time and has a really good lower body workout. I also like their cardio workout, abs and yoga sessions. In fact, I often take the yoga DVD with me on ski trips.

It’s a great, quick way to stretch out tightness at the end of a long, fun ski day.

  • Pros: Professional guidance on your schedule and at a relatively low-cost. 10-Minute Trainer comes with everything you need. Total flexibility for your schedule.
  • Cons: P90X requires weights and a pull up bar.



Late summer biking at Telluride, Colorado.

Of course, you don’t necessarily need DVDs, a class or even a plan to get in shape for skiing and snowboarding.

Biking is a great way to build up your legs and when you couple that with leg exercises, stretching (try a couple of sun salutations morning and night) and core work, you’ll make improvements in your overall strength.

And just in case you’re tempted to run instead of bike. They aren’t equivalent. I love running, but it’s not as effective at building up your legs for skiing as biking.

  • Pros: You can ride outdoors and enjoy the beautiful fall colors! You choose when to workout and you can do it in bits ‘n’ pieces.
  • Cons: If the weather is bad, you’re grounded unless you go the gym or have a stationary bike at home.


Want More?

Many thanks to Western Colorado P.T. Bryan Whitesides for developing these workouts for The Brave Ski Mom blog (and for putting our family back together after each of our many “humpty-dumpty” moments!)

As for P90X and 10-Minute Trainer, these are programs that we’ve purchased and used a lot. I receive no compensation for recommending them. As always, all opinions are my own and are exactly what I would tell my family and friends.

© 2013, Kristen Lummis. All rights reserved. Any use or publication of content, including photos, requires express permission.


  1. says

    Hi Kristen,

    Skiing was one of the main motivators for me to get back into shape. I took to skiing late in life so I need to ski later than others to get the runs in. So a couple of years ago I resumed (I have been a fitness fanatic off and on over the years but mostly off) a workout regimen, but it was not until last summer (2012) that it took off in a big way. I have a couple of loved ones who through poor lifestyle choices have poor health and one of those two was one of my dearest ski buddies. I hope to avoid those situations, these choices involve diet and drink as well as exercise.

    So, as I have shared here I took to biking but now I can not bike so much (I have yet to log a bike mile this month, but am hoping to get a short ride in tomorrow) I spend more of my workout time in the gym mostly working free-weight exercises, body-weight exercises, and various cardio workouts. Recently, I joined in a spin class and that was a first class workout and my legs knew they were working.

    Last ski season I could tell the difference by the number of runs I was able to ski during a given day.

    • says

      Great information and a real life testimonial! Staying physically fit is important no matter what sport you pursue, for all the reasons you mention. Plus, if you have more fun skiing, it’s a great bonus! Cheers!