Skiing is a lot more fun when you are in shape. You are less likely to get hurt, can go longer, and will be able to handle more challenging runs. It’s important to understand what key muscles you will be using while you ski.
Since skiing is a downhill activity, your quadriceps (the muscles in the front of your upper leg) maintain much of the control. It is important to maintain quad strength as it will prevent you from injuring your knees and keep you stable as you go down a run. This is especially important for women, as women are more inclined to get knee injuries. Women’s Health recommends squats for strengthening quadriceps. Lunges are also good for strengthening your quads. If you have access to a gym, a quadricep curl machine (which requires you to sit in a chair and lift your feet from a 90-degree angle to a zero degree one) are great at isolating these muscles.
Your gluteus maximus muscles (or your butt, if you aren’t too technical) are the strongest muscles in your body. For most physical activity, your glutes are your power source. Skiing is no exception. Have strong glutes will give you both power and control as you ski. Plies are good for glutes, and squats and lunges again are great for these muscles. A bosu ball provides an extra challenge for your squat and will improve your balance, which is key to skiing.
Your gracilis muscle controls your inner thigh. Strengthening your inner thigh will help you control your speed when you traverse and will give you stability. Side squats are good for this. You can also get ankle weights and do inner leg lifts to isolate this muscle.
It’s also key to be in good aerobic shape when you ski. Skiing is aerobic anyway, and the altitude makes the air thinner, which makes breathing more difficult. Getting at least 30 minutes of aerobic activity at least three times a week is a good starting point.
**Remember, this post is a basic guideline and does not substitute for 1.) seeing your doctor to see if you are fit for these exercises and 2.) seeing a professional trainer who can evaluate your personal fitness level.**