Fit For Skiing – Fit For Life

Are you developing only 25% of your performance? Is there much more you can tap in to to improve your skiing, get more out of your winter holiday and enjoy your skiing so much more?

We’ve written about this many times over the years with many blogs on the subject. Winter is coming and it’s time to start planning the winter trip ready to spend hard earned savings, checking out the ski equipment on offer, deciding which resort to go to, who to ski with and what lessons/coaching to take.

This is all great and more or less everyone will have a great time. It’s difficult not to in the mountains. But there will still be nerves, frustration and those dreaded learning plateaus. Everyone would like to ski better, longer and tackle places they have not been able to before, I guess. Even if it’s that first Red, first Black, first time venturing off-piste, first couloir, first helicopter drop of first catski experience.

There are whole mountains out there for everyone to enjoy. But many will stick with what they know best and what they know they can already do. Blue run skiers will stick to Blues, Red run skiers to Reds, Piste skiers to the pistes. Off-piste skiers to what they are comfortable with. Improvement will take place for some, but many will be at the same level or even may drop off with their performance.

Most skiers when taking lessons believe it is their technique that is holding back. So year after year skiers invest in technical development believing this is the holy grail of skiing. But it may only equate to 25% of your performance. The other skills being:

We call these the Performance Threads: Technique, Tactics, Fitness, Mindset. 4 key areas of development. When we ask skiers which of these threads are important in skiing more or less everyone says all 4. Sometimes equally across the board. But and here’s the but and it’s huge. When we ask the same skiers how much time they devote to developing all 4 areas, most say 90% technique. That equates to a huge amount of development many skiers are missing out on. Focusing on developing ski technique alone will leave you well short of your potential.

I say to racers what is the point of spending the whole summer and autumn training, spending 100’s of hours and 1000’s of £’s €’s or whatever currency only to get to a race, get nervous and fail to perform anything like you have in training. It’s waisted time, effort and energy where some simple understanding of ‘mindsets’ and developing mindsets can help you achieve your full potential at a race. Don’t spend all the time on developing technique only to get nervous. Mindsets can be developed the same as technique.

It’s the same with fitness. It does not matter how much technical development you put in, you wont be able to ski off-piste if you do not have some level of personal fitness. If you cannot get up after a tumble this will make you nervous of falling over which will in turn make you nervous of trying anything different to the norm. If you muscles are not strong, injury is a worry. If injury is a worry we stick to what we know and can do. When it comes to snow displacement you need to have the confidence to move the snow rather than it move you. Ice the same, it takes muscles to use your edges to scrape the surface of the snow. Fitness is huge. Some would say it equates to far more than 25%. Throughout my ski teaching career skiers and racers have defied conventional ski technique. Technique I believed through my own training to be so valuable, skiers continually defied my thoughts on skiing. I could not help thinking how? Of course it comes down to the performance threads. If you are physically fit you are going to ski well despite your technique. If you have a great positive mindset you are going to ski well despite your technique and fitness. Of course the answer is to invest in all 4 areas of development. Technique, tactics, fitness and mindset. Leaving no stone unturned so to speak.

At Snoworks we address all four areas which brings me on to getting fit for this coming winter.

Emma Carrick-Anderson, Snoworks ski coach and fitness expert is offering a full fitness programme for this coming autumn to address the fitness thread. If you want to make the most of your skiing this coming winter, tackle slopes and snow conditions you would not normally, reduce injury worries and ski better than ever along with less fatigue. I would recommend taking this course. I certainly will be signing up for it myself as I have done for the previous 2 years. I recognise in my own work as a ski coach and instructor if I wish to keep skiing to the same level as many of our guests I need to stay fit. LOL. I can’t have Snoworks guests waiting for their instructor.

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