How to effectively warm up and cool down on the slopes

It’s funny…

Many of us will warm up and cool down religiously for our chosen team sport, or an exercise class, but when we reach the slopes I think the excitement of taking on those epic runs is too much to think of warm up and cool down exercises.

The reality is, if you warm up and cool down you are reducing your chances of getting injured and increasing the rate of recovery for the working muscles. I remember too well waking up in the morning half way through my last ski trip and thinking did I get hit by a bus in the middle of the night??!! The stiffness was incredible! There are some easy ways of helping to reduce this stiffness and increase your mobility and flexibility for each day.

For each of these exercises you could use a friend to lean against and aid with balance or if you have a bullet proof core, you can use your ski poles for balance:

  • Standing forward leg swings 20 reps each leg
  • Standing side on – side leg swings 20 reps each leg
  • Hip openers (open the gate) 20 reps each leg
  • Hip closers (close the gate) 20 reps each leg
  • Hip rotations (round the world) 10 each direction
  • Arm rotations 20 each side and 10 together
  • Lunges (for advanced skiers) 20 reps each leg
Standing Forward Leg Swings
Advanced Lunges

Quite often you may be standing waiting for a lift for a few minutes during peak season, so this could be an ideal time to keep the joints mobile by lifting your knees to chest, rotating the shoulders backwards and circling your hips.

After a long exhilarating day on fresh powder, you’re totally buzzing! Now it’s a total must to get to the nearest bar to start Après! The thoughts of cooling down are probably extremely laughable and far from your mind. I can tell you now, the chances of keeping up those memorable days will be high if you make time for a few minutes of post slope stretching before you hit the glue vine. Here ‘static’ stretching is recommended.

You should focus on stretching:

  • Quads
  • Hip flexors
  • Gluteus
  • Calves

Have a go at these simple and quick warm and cool down routines and keep as injury free as possible. Lead the way this ski season and have the time of your life!


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Thomas Parry

Osteopath & Bodyfanatix Co-founder

9 months ago

This is great Annie. Simple but straight forwards. I agree that most people just step into their bindings and get going, and i've seen some fairly nasty injuries that i'm sure could've been prevented by following your advice.

9 months ago

Great advice. The last thing you want is to get injured after the first few days on your ski trip.....or on any day for that matter!