James Vickers

The leaves have fallen but the temperatures are holding. Don’t let this fool you, winter is coming!

At this time of year I always have a tingle of excitement as the ski season is around the corner. The only tonic to the darkness of January and February is knowing that I’ll soon be on snow for an alpine adventure.  Last year it was the Norwegian Fjords, this year I’m in the high huts of the Dolomites. Can’t wait!

With three months to go it’s time to prepare. The Christmas wish list has been written, I’m marked down for a new down jacket. However Santa can’t give you legs of steel, and lungs like massive bellows. Skiing is high load and we need to get in shape. The summer beach bod isn’t going to cut it in the mountains.

Whatever level you ski at you should get training. I’m a firm believer in putting in the hours before you head to the slopes pays dividend. Not only is the skiing more exhilarating but the risk of injury decreases.

Everyone is aware that skiing is associated with significant injury with the most renowned been an anterior cruciate rupture. The reason why this injury holds such a feared rep is because it will take you until the following ski season to return your knee to a strong and stable state. Even this isn’t guaranteed and it will likely require surgery, too many hours with a physio and a significant number of hours in gym.

Given the injury risk of skiing it’s a wonder why we return each year; but it’s simple. We love it, the family loves it and it’s a fantastic holiday with friends. However I really encourage you to get training. Whatever training fits for you, be progressive and consistent between now and the time you dust off the ski-pants. Get the legs and trunk involved with resistance training, and repeatedly get the heart rate up for short periods. Sixty to ninety seconds of hard effort with enough recovery to allow you to go hard again. This should be the general theme of your training.

If you have past injuries that you are concerned about or know are weak in a key area, act now and get it checked so a specific rehab plan can be integrated into your weekly training. There are often pre-existing risk factors for significant injuries like an anterior cruciate rupture. Not taking the time to assess now could be costly.

Above all, do your snow dance and wish for a bumper snow year like last year. Bon ski!