Skiing & Snowboarding
Skiing and snowboarding are great ways to spend winter days outside. With a combination of balance and strength you will be able to master the slopes!
Snow skiing is a sport utilizing skis as primary equipment. Skis are used in conjunction with boots that connect to the ski with use of a binding. Although snowboarding shares the general characteristics of skiing sports, it evolved from surfing and skateboarding and so is not considered a type of skiing. The posture assumed in snowboarding is a side on action whereas the skiing posture is primarily front facing.
Here are a few tips to get you started:
- Getting to know how to use a ski lift is not easy, so ask a friend or instructor to help you get the hang of it during quiet periods.
- Avoid burning your face around your goggles by using sun block. You may think because you are cold that you are not going to burn, but the sun reflects off the snow and can give you a painful burn.
- Try a lesson or two before you head out. Ski instructors are available at most chalets and they will provide you with the basics that you need to safely maneuver the slopes.
Preparing for the Day
Before you head out to the mountains makes sure that you have your necessities such as:
- Snow jacket and pants
- Neck warmer
We like to pack a few nutritious, high energy snacks like fruit, nuts, sandwiches, water and juice.
One day on the hill and you will feel how much your muscles have worked! Soreness the day after skiing is common, but here are a few strengthening exercises to help lessen the pain:
Hamstring Curl: Adjust the machine so that your ankles are tight against the pads and your knees are just over the edge of the bench. Pull your heels up and towards your buttocks. Slowly return to the start position. Don’t allow your hips to pop up off the bench. Avoid any swinging actions.
Calves Heel Raise: Hang your heels off the edge of a platform. Slowly press up onto your toes and then lower down until your heels are below the platform. Keep your toes pointing straight ahead and your calves tightened throughout.
Lunge: Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Hold dumbbells in each hand. For the more advanced, place a barbell on your shoulders. Take a big step forward, ensuring that your heel strikes the ground first. Keep your head and chest up, abdominals tight. Your front knee should be over the ankle and should not wobble. Your back knee should be bending towards the floor. Squeeze your buttocks and push off with the front foot, to return to the start position. (Variation: Lunging without weights is an excellent workout for beginners.) Also, do not forget to stretch throughout the day and before you head home.
Top Five Tips
Save yourself the hassle of taking off all the layers of thermals and waterproofs once you are on the slopes by going to the toilet before you leave.
- Watch out for dropping your possessions on the chairlifts-you may find it very difficult to find them again.
- Go for waterproof outerwear and lots of layers for when you ski, but remember, you can be more creative when it comes to aprs ski.
- Remember to reapply sunscreen often.
- Bring along a spare pair of gloves and socks just in case yours get wet and cold.
- Check that you have your five vital items before leaving the chalet – gloves, goggles, money, sunblock and the lift pass.
To get started you will need a board, boots, and a helmet. If you do not want to invest in these items you can rent them from most chalets, here are a few things that you will need to know:
Are you Regular or Goofy?
Picture sliding downhill sideways. Which side is facing downhill, your right or your left? Alternatively, you can imagine yourself sliding across the kitchen floor in your socks. Which foot is forward? If you answered left, you’re “regular”. If you answered right, you’re “goofy”. On a snowboard, your feet are not perfectly pointed straight toward the toe edge, they are slightly angled either to the left (regular) or to the right (goofy). The foot that goes down the hill first is called your “leading foot” because it leads you down the hill. For a regular person, this is the left foot, for a goofy person, it’s the right. The board pictured above is a regular board. On a goofy board, the nose is on the right and the tail is on the left.
Nose – the nose is the end that usually points downhill
Tail – the tail is the end that usually points uphill
Toe edge – the side of the board where your toes are
Heel edge – the side of the board where your heels are
Binding – the thing that binds your foot to the board.
You will fall. Not knowing how to fall can mean spending the day in the ER and missing days of snowboarding fun. You don’t want to do anything that will deny you of your snowboarding experience, especially if it can be easily avoided by reading a simple paragraph. So, even though falling down is quite an odd thing to be learning, it makes sense to learn it. When you catch your toe edge, you’ll fall forward. When falling forward, your fingers, wrists, and elbows are at risk. The natural inclination is to extend your hands out in front of you to break your fall. Make sure you RESIST this temptation. Doing it can break your fingers, or worse, your wrists. Instead, make fists (to prevent your fingers from breaking), hold your arms in front of your chest (bent, not extended), and fall on your forearms, not your elbows. The surface of your forearms you should fall on is the one that makes contact with the dinner table when you rest your arms comfortably on it. When you catch your heel edge, you’ll fall backward. When falling backward, your head and tailbone are at risk. If you feel yourself falling backward, tuck your chin toward your chest. This is good advice for beginners on the bunny hill, but before you hit the slopes, get a helmet. When you are going fast, the chin tuck doesn’t afford much protection.
We recommend that you take the time to get a lesson or two from a trained professional. This will make snowboarding a lot more fun, and a little less dangerous!