Woman skiing down a snowy mountain.
SKIING

How To Prepare for Ski Season

From gear tips to exercise plans, here’s how an Olympic skier says you should get ready for ski season
Snow has started falling in the mountains, and for winter sports enthusiasts, that means only one thing: ski season is almost here. Unfortunately, not all of us are ready for deep, endless turns through fluffy fields of powder—aside from the fact that our gear has been collecting dust for six months, our legs aren’t in much better shape. If we’re going to enjoy ourselves on opening day, we need a good gear tune-up, along with a solid workout plan.

To help you get up to speed, we reached out to Olympic skier and half-pipe champion Alex Ferreira. The Columbia Sportswear athlete shared his best tips for how to get ready for ski season.
People waxing skis.

STEP #1: PREP YOUR GEAR

The first thing you need to do to get ready for ski season is prep your gear. Whether you’re a skier or a snowboarder, this starts with a good tune-up. Don’t worry if you don’t have the right tools, Ferreira says. Most ski shops offer this service, as do most ski resorts. “Bring it into a shop and ask for a cleanup tune,” he explains. “They'll remove the burrs on the side of the edges and give you a full wax. They'll also put P-tex in the base wherever it needs it from hitting rocks or whatever. They'll basically give your skis a manicure.” It’s also helpful to give the rest of your gear a quick look over to make sure that everything is in place and working properly, he says. Check to see that all of the important pieces of clothing still fit and nothing is broken or torn—you don’t want to wait until you’re on the mountain to discover that a button has snapped off your jacket or a ski glove is missing. When you’re going through your checklist, don’t forget to pack a warm ski jacket, snow pants, gloves, baselayers, and a hat.
Two snowboarders on a snowy mountain.

STEP #2: PREP YOUR BODY

Starting an exercise program ahead of ski season is the best way to get ready for winter. Combine strength-based exercises with a little cardio and you’ll be ahead of the game. In addition to having more fun on the hill, being in shape will reduce the likelihood of injuries.

According to Ferreira, there are five key factors to focus on when training for ski season:
  • Core strength
  • Glutes strength
  • Cardio
  • Flexibility
  • Balance
While he recommends concentrating heavily on your core and glutes, he also stresses the importance of mobility. Skiers and snowboarders often forget this part of training, but stretching is one of the best things you can do to get in shape for skiing. The Olympic athlete says that he personally doesn’t hit the slopes without a “mandatory 20-minute stretch. Then you're all warmed up and you feel great.”
Skiers getting putting on gear.

THE BEST SKI PREPARATION WORKOUT

For strength training, Ferreira recommends the following preseason ski workout:
Alex Ferreira's Pre-Season Workout list graphic.
Illustration of women doing sideways leg raises.
For each exercise above, do 10 reps per side. Repeat three times.
Illustration of woman during leg sideways circles overlaid on snowy background.
For each exercise above, do 10 reps per side. Repeat three times.
Illustration of woman doing lying scissor kicks overlaid on snowy background.
For each exercise above, do 10 reps per side. Repeat three times.
Illustration of woman doing air squats overlaid on snowy background.
For each exercise above, do 10 reps per side. Repeat three times.
Illustration of woman doing jumping squats overlaid on snowy background.
For each exercise above, do 10 reps per side. Repeat three times.
Illustration of woman doing standard lunges overlaid on snowy background.
For each exercise above, do 10 reps per side. Repeat three times.
Illustration of woman doing jumping lunges overlaid on snowy background.
For each exercise above, do 10 reps per side. Repeat three times.
Ready to hit the slopes? Check out Columbia Sportswear’s selection of ski and snowboard gear