Get Ready for Winter!

Written by Jake Gough, Element Ski School – Verbier 

Training for snowsports is an absolute no brainer.

Whether you’re an instructor preparing to tackle exams or a recreational skier/rider wanting to get the most out of your holiday, it makes a lot of sense to do some pre-season dry land training to get the best possible results when you hit the piste.

Both skiing and snowboarding require the use of all of the major muscle groups. As such, limiting your training to just your lower or upper body is not going to be nearly as effective as employing a total body training programme.

Although it may sound daunting, doing this is not as complicated as it sounds. Snowsports require aerobic fitness, a basic level of strength, and effective power. Other components that are useful to develop are mobility, agility and balance.

First and foremost, when you start training you must ALWAYS do a warm up. Why? It is important so that you minimise the risk of injury and it also aids you mentally preparing you for the workout ahead! The aim of the warm up is to place the cardiovascular, respiratory and neuromuscular systems in a state of readiness for activity.

Over the summer months you need a plan. Below is a list of some of the key aspects that everyone should try and improve in preparation for the winter.

Aerobic fitness

If you are a recreational skier or rider then this is probably the most important aspect of your fitness to concentrate on. The usual suspects of swimming, cycling, and running are all excellent for improving aerobic fitness levels. To this list you should try and add skipping (great for co-ordination, balance, and agility), and rowing if at all possible.

Basic strength

Jake Gough Ski Instructor Verbier | Pre-season trainingIt’s important to have a decent level of strength to allow you to get the most out of your day on the Mountain. If you want to give yourself the best chance of perfecting off piste or acing a bumps run then it’s undeniable that strength will be a big factor. Once you’ve built up a good level of aerobic fitness you can focus on training your legs, core, and upper body. Compound moves (exercises that work lots of muscles like squats and lunges) are also absolutely vital when it comes to increasing your strength.


If you’re training for exams, especially the eurotest, then this is necessary to develop. Before attempting power exercises you should have first built up a decent level of strength to ensure that you’re able to complete the exercises with good form.

There is no point training power exercises if you’re not strong enough as you’re more than likely going to hurt yourself. Developing power is essential for high level skiing or riding.

Jake Gough Ski Instructor Verbier | Race Training

This is the first of a series of blogs that will go more into depth about the most effective ways to prepare for snowsports. If you would like more training advice then please email me or check out my website Jake Gough | Personal Trainer and ski instructor