We don’t need to tell you that ski racing is a complicated sport. A summer of strength and endurance training, hours and hours spent refining technique and tactics, all for a minute-long race run. A vigorous race day warm-up with these ski racing drills can help you capitalize on the numerous hours and effort you’ve already put in.
Is your second training run usually faster than your first? If you’re warmed up, you’re just going to ski race better. To make the most of your race day, it’s essential to have a robust warm-up routine that targets the specific movements and muscle groups used in ski racing. Our experts swear by these four drills.
1. Pole Pinch
This ski racing drill emphasizes upper and lower body separation and leveling the upper body over the outside ski. To begin, place your poles behind your back and use your elbows to hold them in position. As you turn, focus on keeping the poles level, leaning over the outside ski. Make sure your poles aren’t tipped toward the inside ski. To control this, engage your oblique muscles and think about pulling your outer bicep to your outer hip. In transition, use your elbows to pull forward on the poles to emphasize a forward movement toward the tips of your skis. Start with slow, slid turns and gradually work your way up to GS turn size and speed.
Not only will a skating warm-up help you get out of the start gate faster, but it’s also helpful for finding balance on a working outside ski. To skate efficiently, you need to use a strong athletic position (ankles flexed, shins on the front of the boot, knees flexed, hips aligned over the ball of the foot). Roll the ski onto its edge, and flexing into the front of your boot, push off the ski while thinking about projecting your momentum as far forward as possible. “Land” on the other ski with a flat base and glide until momentum starts to slow. As you roll onto the edge and push off to the next ski, focus on moving your hips toward the tip of the next ski.
3. Thousand Steps
This ski racing drill helps you find active, independent balance on each ski and find active balance over the front of the boot. For this drill, you’ll make low to medium-speed traversing turns. As you traverse the hill, step from downhill ski to uphill ski repeatedly. Think about the steps like you’d think about walking. Focus on moving forward and up the hill with each step. With each step, you’ll establish independent balance while actively moving forward. An agile, athletic position with ankles and knees flexed is critical. As you get more comfortable with this drill, you can also add steps through your turns to further challenge independent balance. Check out this great demo by US Ski and Snowboard.
4. Edge Sets
This classic ski racing drill helps you activate your ankles and lower legs, while improving your ability to roll your skis up on edge. Start in a strong athletic position (ankles flexed, shins on the front of the boot, knees flexed, hips aligned over the ball of the foot, facing the tips of your skis). Sideslip in the fall line, in your athletic position, for 5-10 meters. In one move, come to a hockey stop. Emphasize rolling your skis on edge from the ground up: roll through your toes, then knees. Focus on staying balanced and level over the downhill ski, and pole plant toward the tip of the downhill ski in coordination with your hockey stop. Perform sets of 10 on each side and focus on resetting your athletic position between each stop.
By incorporating these drills into your warm-up routine, you’ll be better prepared to race your fastest. Remember, a strong warm-up will help you capitalize on all of the hours and effort you’ve already put in. So, make sure to take the time to prepare properly before your next race. And be sure your muscles are still warm by the time you step into the start gate by insulating with a warm-up coat like an Arctica A Team Warm Up Coat.