What’s your pre-skiing or snowboarding routine? Do you strap in and go? Or maybe you hit the lodge and do some stretching to ease into the day? We asked six skiers and snowboarders, from enthusiasts to pros, to share their personal formulas for a great day on the slopes. Make your next trip to the mountain your best one yet with a few of their tips, from favorite stretches to must-have snacks.
Experience Level: United States Ski and Snowboard Association Coach, Instructor and Pro-Level Judge
Years of Experience: 30+ years skiing, 12 years coaching and judging
Favorite Destination: British Columbia
Before: Calik starts his ski clinics – and personal routine – with light stretching and big movements like leg kicks to the front, back and side to loosen up. A few shoulder and neck rolls, and he’s ready to go. Based on conditions, he’ll start on easier slopes with small jumps and basic tricks, then “ramp it up as the morning goes on.”
Calik’s Tip: Before your boots go on, do some ankle rolls.
After: “When I’m on the hill and the conditions are good, I don’t really take a break. I just charge all day, then grab a little food, a beer.”
Offseason: “Skiing is one of those things I see a lot of people just come out and do,” Calik says. “You do have to do some cross-training to perform well at it.” He recommends core exercises and conditioning exercises, like squats and box jumps, along with trampoline workouts for agility and yoga for flexibility. Box jumps, in particular, help build strength for aerial tricks, where “having good pop and good takeoff is key.”
Experience Level: United States Collegiate Ski and Snowboard Association Judge, Collegiate Snowboarder
Years of Experience: 15
Favorite Destination: Mont-Sainte-Anne, Quebec, Canada
Before: Before putting on her gear, O’Bryan warms up with supine twists, triceps stretches, seated straddle stretches and standing hamstring stretches. She also gets her core and back warmed up with Russian twists, sit-ups, twisting curls and superman stretches. “Stretching is important to prevent soreness,” she says. She recommends going through a consistent routine each time you head out on the slopes.
O’Bryan’s Tip: Before and during your ride, maintain energy with high-protein snacks like almonds or beef jerky.
After: Foam rolling. “If I’m sore, I’ll do it a day or two later to keep my legs and back loose.” She’ll also ice her knees and legs, if needed.
Offseason: “The most important exercises [for snowboarders] are box jumps and twisting box jumps.” Running, agility training with ladder and tire exercises, and weighted squats complete her training regimen.
Experience Level: Snowboard Enthusiast
Years of Experience: 13
Favorite Destination: Breckenridge, Colorado
Before: “Immediately before the slopes: A good night’s sleep, some light stretching and plenty of water, especially if snowboarding at high altitudes.” Sabol says he mainly focuses on warming up his quads and calves.
Sabol’s Tip: Take the time to stretch — it will pay off in the long run. “If you go all day and your muscles are tight, you could cramp up and get tired pretty quickly.”
After: Rest and spend time relaxing in a hot tub.
Offseason: “Before and during the season, I try to get in two gym workouts per week that involve low-intensity cardio [like] one to two miles on the treadmill, followed by leg stretching and an assortment of bodyweight leg exercises [like] squat jumps, box jumps, lunges and calf raises.”
Experience Level: Certified Snowboarding Teacher and Ski Patrol
Years of Experience: 12
Favorite Destination: Sunday River, Newry, Maine
Before: May hydrates and eats a light meal filled with protein, like eggs or avocado toast. “Before any gear goes on, I roll my ankles and do regular stretches, like lunges, pulling each knee to chest and kicking my feet to work my butt. I prep and stretch so I am not tired on the slopes.”
May’s Tip: Have fun! There is a “sense of freedom and independence on the mountain. No other activity can relate.”
After: May finishes up with a few whole body stretches, then takes time to rest.
Offseason: When May is teaching new students to snowboard, she starts with toe-side and heel-side footwork, before they even step on the board. Personally, May trains with running and bodyweight exercises.
Experience Level: Skiing Enthusiast
Years of Experience: 24
Favorite Destination: Whistler Blackcomb, Canada
Before: Bronson never skips out on his pre-ski stretching routine. “I’ve tried not stretching and I’ve had bad outcomes, like a sore back, sore hamstrings and a twisted ankle.” Bronson goes through a combination of on- and off-mountain stretches. He suggests stretching with your gear off and on for different sensations. His favorite part of that pre-ride routine is just “having fun with friends, talking about where we’re going to go that day.”
Bronson’s Tip: “Rest is key. A well-rested night before makes the day so much better. Your mind is more prepared.”
After: Hydration is at the top of Bronson’s list. “I usually double my intake based on how hard I rode, and if at high elevation.” He takes about 10 minutes to stretch, with a focus on legs. If it’s available, he’ll spend a few minutes in a hot tub to round out the routine.
Offseason: Nothing specifically related to skiing.
Experience Level: Snowboarding Enthusiast
Years of Experience: 11
Favorite Destination: Snowbird, Utah
Before: “If I have never been to a resort [before] or I’m going to a mountain larger than the last, I make sure to stretch longer and focus on the whole body, from shoulders to ankles,” Tabrosky says. “If I am sore the next few days, that means I need to stretch more to handle those new mountains.” Tabrosky’s routine includes forward folds, twists, hamstring stretches, frog pose to stretch the hips, plus bicep and triceps stretches, neck rolls, and wrist and ankle rotations. “If I am feeling sluggish, I make sure to take it slow on the first few runs until my body is comfortable being back on the board.”
Tabrosky’s Tip: “It’s important to have mobility in your legs, so no matter what the terrain is, your body is able to be flexible.” Try incorporating yoga poses that target the hips into your routine. Tabrosky practices Half Pigeon yoga pose.
After: Tabrosky starts with time in a hot tub and finishes up with a foam roller before bed.
Offseason: “The week before I hit the slopes for the first time, I make sure my body is ready for the cardio and all-day conditions on the mountain,” she says. “I begin and end every workout with 15 minutes of stretching and a foam roller.” Cardio is a mix of rowing or spinning, supplemented with a leg routine, including sumo squats, kettlebell squats, elastic band routines, lunges, hip thrusts and calf raises.
Think you’re ready to add a new element to your next ski or snowboard routine? With this expert advice, you’re armed to try everything from off-season conditioning and pre-slope stretching to help boost endurance and reduce soreness. With so many warmup and post-slope cool-down options, you can find a combination perfect for you and your riding style.