It’s that time of year again when our thoughts start turning towards the slopes. We’re mad on skiing and snowboarding here and Doc Craig has been heavily involved in the ski industry for nearly two decades.
Skiing places all kinds of physical demands on the body, especially the spine. Craig has featured in the travel section of the Telegraph as an expert in the article “How to get fit for the slopes” and “A die hard skiers guide to snowboarding” and the Guardian in the article “Ready Steady Snow” as well as being the fitness editor for Ski & Board magazine. You’ll find reference to him on the ABTA (Association of British Travel Agents) and Austria tourism websites.
Here’s some tips from Craig on how to get the most out of your skiing in 2016, improve your performance and carve up the slopes.
Get strong. Squats, split squats, lunges and glute bridges are your new best friends. Delayed onset muscle soreness (affectionately known as Doms) is something all skiers will be familiar with. It can strike anywhere between day one and day three of a skiing holiday and last anywhere up to ten days, by which time your holiday is probably over. Doms come from overly fatigued muscles, over exertion and muscle weakness. The main issue is it can significantly increase your chance of injury as well as ruining your skiing holiday. So build up those muscles before you go to reduce the chance of Doms striking.
Limber up. Use your first run as a gentle warm up. Don’t stretch before it. Static stretching increases the chance of damaging soft tissue, lead to a reduction in strength and decrease the coordination of explosives movements. A gentle first run will get the blood pumping to your muscles which will often be aching and stiff. It’s after this first run you stretch. Use active movements such as lumbar rolls, kick throughs and hip flexor stretching. Not only will you improve your performance you’ll also reduce your chance of injury.
Stay warm… As well as stretching your muscles, getting warmed up properly is key to avoiding accidents. Most skiers believe accidents always happen at the end of the day. It’s true, big accidents can happen on that ‘one last run.’ However, it’s much more common for accidents to happen first thing in the morning or after lunch when we’re stiff and cold. Squat jumps, tuck jumps and dynamic lunges will get the blood pumping to your muscles and make them much more elastic. They also improve your joint flexibility and nerve signal transmission.
…then get cold. You’re not going to like this one. That nice warm bath you were looking forward to? Forget about it. It does two things to hinder your recovery; it increases inflammation in joints and muscles and promotes further dehydration. So what to do instead? You guessed it, an ice bath! Or if that’s too much a quick sauna followed by a plunge pool will help reduce inflammation and you’ll feel great the next day.
If you want some more advice on how to get the most out of your time on the sloped then we’d love to hear from you. You’ll also find a quick tune up before your holiday can make the world of difference to how you feel when you’re out there.
Craig’s been a consultant for the Warren Smith Ski Academy over many years and can highly recommend you spend a week with them to help you take control of your skiing and understand the biomechanics of skiing.
If you are after a guide in Chamonix check out Chris Fecher for Tinderbox ski school – http://tinderboxskischool.com – or if it’s heli ski you’re after – http://www.purepowder.com – and if it all goes wrong – Mr Jonathan Bell is your man http://www.wimbledonclinics.co.uk.
Lastly check out this great alpine art website based out of Verbier http://www.eternaljellyfish.com.
And a date for your diary – the city ski champs are coming up on the 4th Feb in Verbier. More info here – http://cityskichampionships.com.
If there us any doubt as to the expertise of the ‘Ski Doc’ – Craig McLean check out some amazing footage from his selfie stick skiing in perfect conditions on Chamonix in Jan 2015.