Ski Smart, Ski Strong

Certified athletic trainer Lori Gulmantovicz has seen a lot of ski injuries over the years. It comes as no surprise that knee strain and ACL tears are top on Gulmantovicz’s list of injuries that she sees every ski season. “Part of the reason why this happens is due to the inherently unbalanced nature of skiing,” she says. The problem with skiing is that you’re locked into your skis, says Gulmantovicz. Because the upper body is heavier than the legs, your knees are the weakest link. There could be a lot of torque on the legs depending on the way you fall.
    Fortunately, there are exercises that skiers can do to strengthen their legs and prevent the chance of falling and injury. Right now most gyms offer ski-conditioning classes, which work to strengthen the legs and may use plyometric exercises that work to build power and speed.
    At One Boulder Fitness, lead trainer Glen Marshman works with clients on strength and stability. The stability component is key, says Marshman, because it provides a solid platform on which everything else is built. Marshman often starts clients with basic stability exercises, like standing on one leg. More advanced stability work can include balancing on either one or two legs on DynaDiscs, which are small inflatable discs made out of the same material as a gym ball. Our Denver center’s retail area offers several balancing and strengthening products.
    Two important strengthening exercises for the lower body are squats and lunges (see descriptions below). After warming the body up, Marshman suggests doing 20 reps per set, with two or three sets per workout session. This type of strength training three times per week should build important strength in the lower body.
    Ultimately, skiing is about endurance, says Marshman. Most ski runs take between five to 20 minutes, depending on altitude covered and level of difficulty. By mimicking the repetitions done on the mountain, this type of strength training will prepare the body for a stronger, healthier ski season. Cont'd...