Sun salutations. Other than hailing the sunny days south of the UK, doing sun salutations is a great way to warm up the body. It gets you breathing and bending in all directions, warming up arms, back and legs. Sun salutations are used in vinyasa flow classes to connect breath with movement (helping to clear the mind of clutter) and allow you to move into different poses with ease.
Many variations of chair pose. Why? You use your thighs (quads) constantly. When you are descending down that mountain, you are leaning forward and “bending zee knees”. You need solid thighs.
Back bends and bridges. Why? You probably feel your lower back aches at the end of the day, from skiing or just picking up the heavy skis. Back bends strengthen the lower back.
Balancing poses. Why? When turning on skis, you shift your weight between legs. When balancing on one leg, you learn stability when balancing. You learn to engage those key muscles required to balance (core and glutes).
We also focus on the core and abs, back and shoulders and other key parts of the body. Each week is slightly different yet will incorporate similar poses so you feel you are progressing each week.
Leading up to your trip and on your trip, try to find some favourite poses to do to warm up in the morning, when you have a break and after skiing.
Here is a video below that shows a few poses to help before skiing.
Tips for skiing at peak times
Sometimes you have to go skiing during school holidays. Here are a few tips that might be helpful.
Book restaurants in advance of your trip. It's a pain now but you'll be happy when you see the crowds.
If self catering, try to cook some meals at home. We buy baguettes/meat/cheese and take them with us on sunny days.
Pack snacks from home to bring onto the slopes. Chocolate bars and nuts are great for energy!
If renting your equipment, contact the ski shop and pre-book your equipment. At most, the shop will ask for a 10% deposit to rent.
Try to get to the lifts as early as possible. Normally it's crowded going up the mountain for that first lift and worth getting up a bit earlier to avoid the huge queues.
Look around, look ahead and be careful on the crowded slopes. There is a mix over very fast skiers (boy racers) and learners. Don't overthink it but be vigilant.
Tips to avoid my previous mistakes
These are tips that I'm sharing as I have made mistakes before and wanted to pass along some knowledge.
Bring your own sun cream, from the UK. The sun is stronger up the mountain. And so are the prices for sun cream at the resort. Remember to re-apply too.
If you wear the same jacket each year, make sure you take any old lift passes out of your jacket. It only confuses the scanners when walking through.
If you use a backpack, make sure it's as small and simple as possible, without many dangling parts. You don't want to get caught on anything.
When you go in somewhere for lunch or après ski, make sure you swap one ski with a friend so the pairs are uneven. People typically do not steal skis but it happens.
Wear fingerless or thinner gloves under your ski gloves so your hands don't freeze if taking your thicker ski gloves to adjust something. Make sure your ski gloves are attached to your wrists. Be very careful if taking out your phone on the lift.
Pay for the extra insurance both when buying lift tickets and skis. The cost is minimal yet have huge benefits that your travel insurance may not cover.
Tips for a strong skiing mindset
We have all been away from skiing for at least 2 years. Even if you are a confident skier, you may have some nerves before your trip.
Start the positive visualisation process. Imagine yourself skiing with great technique and strength. Notice how good you feel and remember that feeling.
Remember that you have prepared the best you could before your trip and you have the skills to ski well.
Saying that, make sure you actually prepare for your trip by doing regular balancing exercises, leg and core strength exercises and some cardio. You want to be strong, even to carry your skis around.
If you find yourself on more challenging terrain than you are used to, keep saying positive words to yourself "I am strong enough to do this", "This is easier than it looks", or "I am in control" are good examples.
Drink more water than you do at home. Altitude dehydrates you and makes you tired. Bring a water bottle. All the restaurants I have been to are happy to fill it up.
Remember to breathe. Breathe deeply, even if you don't feel nervous. Breathe in that fresh mountain air and enjoy the views. The effects will last after the ski trip is over.