Sizing Up for the Slopes: Conditioning for Snow Sports

Recently I received a frantic call from my mother.  “Heidi,” she said in a harried and breathy way, “I really need you to come out here,” “here” being Lake Tahoe.  As it turns out, my mom is trying out for a ski patrol position at a local “hill.”  As such, she is required to fulfill certain physical fitness requirements, hence the call.  My mom wanted me to help condition her for her test. Having two little children with birthdays coming up, a busy workload and community commitments, my only option became to virtually prepare her for her test.  Fortunately the physical fitness video, certification requirements, and exercises that can prepare you are available on line at Fit to Ride and are produced by Vail Resorts®.  This is an absolutely awesome website for any ski or board enthusiast.

As an educator known for creativity, I seized upon this jewel and began implementing artistic license.  Ever since I began teaching trampoline training, I have advocated its benefits to those preparing for ski/snowboard trips.  Especially when we use the “mogul” move, oh yes! We all become Lindsey Vonn; our cheeks bright red with chill, lifting our knees high side to side and digging our “poles” into the snow as we race down the mountain! A thrill especially for Floridians.

But back to the story; if skiing, snowboarding, cross country skiing, or snowshoeing are in your future, begin to condition now.  The basic conditioning needs for snow sports include cardiovascular fitness, agility, strength, flexibility, core strength, and balance.  All of these components can be met using the JumpSport Fitness Trampoline™.

For cardiovascular fitness, you can bounce, jog, run, and jack.  You can simulate on the board/ski moves such as moguls whereby your bring your knees together, bend deeply into the quadriceps and move side to side.  You can “cross country” or scissor your legs; you can jump “pizza feet” where the legs and feet come together and you jump front and back as if cutting the trampoline mat into slices of pizza.

In terms of agility, working on the unstable surface of the mat is multitasking your cardio and agility.  A more advanced move on the trampoline involves bouncing and then a quarter or half twist.  You can adjust the move accordingly but it certainly facilitates agility.

Again, because the mat is unstable it offers proprioceptive training or balance and core conditioning.  Every muscle in your body has to fire in order to keep you from falling forward, side, or back.  Your core is naturally being engaged to keep you vertical and your vestibular system, the system responsible for balance located within your ear, is hard at work when you are trampoline training.  To enhance your core strength you can do any number of abdominal exercises including mat Pilates while laying supine or prone on your mat.  While you jump, you can bring light weights “on board” and incorporate arm work that will strengthen your upper body.

You can use the JFT as a step, as a platform for tricep dips, planks and push ups.  You can stand, sit or lay down on the mat and perform strength exercises that can include dumb bells, medicine balls, the magic circle or resistance bands.  For flexibility sit on the mat comfortably and begin recording your “sit and reach”, hinge forward and reach for the frame of the trampoline.  You can stand up, hinge forward and reach for the frame getting a fantastic hamstring and calf stretch.  Lift up the heels one at a time for a mountain climber stretch.  Get all of your stretching done while challenging your balance on the trampoline.

To find playlists that will follow you from conditioning to slopes, check out Fitness Magazine on-line for their article, “100 Best Playlists”.  To keep yourself focused on your work out, ditch your regular ear buds for ones built into the hat like the ones from iBeani.

Refer to this article and the Fit to Ride Program produced by Vail Resorts® and you will be totally golden, a rockstar on the slopes! Pass this article to other winter sports enthusiasts, find a partner or build a team to work out with and then plan a trip to your favorite hill.  Snow is already falling, time to hit it!

Share your ski plans, day #1 on this conditioning plan or how you plan to get into slope shape.  Inquiring minds “wanna” know what you snow bunnies and jack rabbits are up to! Keep in touch:, @FitTrampoline or on Facebook at

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

Heidi Aspen Lauckhardt-Rhoades

Professional Fitness Instructor, ACE, AFFA, TRX, Indo, PIA, GROOVE

Dance and Creative Movement Productions

Writer and Social Media Correspondent

FB: The Write Fit & Open Barre Happy Hour

Twitter: @ATweetFit

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