Start your training with the basics

In your list of things to do before setting off on holiday to Méribel, make sure you put "fitness training" in the top 3 ! You could start training about a month before your ski holiday. Don't worry, because in your everyday life, you are already training a bit without knowing it. But to be on top form, that won’t be quite enough !

Cardio, so you aren’t out of breath
Downhill skiing is an intense sport. You can soon run out of puff on the slopes, especially if you ski fast.

To help you improve your lung capacity, try jogging up gentle inclines. Alternatively, opt for Nordic walking and include some hills. Going downhill also helps you prepare for skiing, as it forces you to do what are called eccentric muscle contractions: simply put, when you go downhill, your leg muscles contract to slow the descent of your body. This exercise could help you avoid accidents when skiing.

Balance, to prevent falls
Good balance is very important in skiing as it helps you avoid falls. Rollerblading is recommended: you can practice doing slaloms, for example. Roller skis are also great for training. Skateboarding is particularly suitable for snowboarders.

5 exercises to strengthen your thighs and glutes to avoid injury !

1. Think squats

"The best is to do these exercises 3 times a week. For each session, do 3 sets of 20 with breaks of 5 minutes.
Stand with your arms outstretched in front of you, legs apart, push your butt backwards and then bend your knees, tightening your abdominal muscles and breathing in, and push back up as you breathe out.

You can modify the squat exercise by transferring your body weight : once you have bent your knees, stay down and transfer your body weight entirely on your left leg, then re-centre your weight over both bent legs and rise back up. Do the same for the other leg.

2. Lunges are effective too

In addition to alternating slots you can vary the exercises by doing jumping and side slots!
Another exercise that allows you to control your speed and movements on the ski slopes is called
 alternating forward lunges. Place one foot in front and the other behind. Lift the heel of the leg behind you.
Bring your knees down as you breathe in, push on the heel of the front leg, and then stand back up, stretching both legs at the same time. Remember to exhale and keep both feet parallel. Do the same exercise with the other leg. This activity is great for strengthening your knees.
If you want to make things a bit more challenging, try jumping lunges: lower your knees until you have almost touched the ground, then jump, swapping the foot at the back to the front. This exercise makes your legs more dynamic, and it works your heart.

3. Work your abs with a plank

You can do this activity 3 times a week. And for the more motivated... You can try the pumps !
Try this floor-based core-strengthening exercise : place your forearms and palms on the floor and take the weight on your bent toes.

Be careful to keep your back straight; don’t sneakily raise your buttocks - we're watching you ! Hold this position for 20 to 30 seconds, breathing normally, rest for 3 minutes, then repeat the exercise 3 times.

4. Look after your back

To avoid a sore back, here's a simple exercise to strengthen your back muscles: sit on your butt and place your hands behind you. Raise your pelvis up towards the ceiling; you should only have your hands and heels on the ground.

5. Do some lateral work if you snowboard

Stand with your back straight, spread one leg to the side, bending the knee. Remain in this position for a few seconds, then return to your position.
If you are a snowboarder, you can do the same physical training as for skiing. But you should do some extra lateral movement exercises, because this is the hardest part of snowboarding.

The aim is to prepare your brain and muscles to move laterally. For example, do side lunges.

You can also do rotational exercises: ask someone to stand to your right and throw you a medicine ball (a ball used for strengthening muscles and rehabilitation). Throw the ball back sideways, turning your upper body towards the person.

If you enjoy boxing exercises, don't stint on these! Most snowboarding injuries occur to the wrists, so this activity helps prepare your body for a possible fall. Put on boxing gloves, close your fists and hit a punch bag. This creates shock waves that improve bone density and this strengthens your wrists.

Ski fitness achieved, now it’s time to warm-up on Méribel’s pistes!

Before you hit the slopes, it’s a good idea to do some hip, head and shoulder rotations. Flex your upper body by touching your toes. A little bit of jogging is also a good idea.

The coach's advice :

"Start with a green or blue track, because even if you’re a good skier, your muscles are cold. Prefer small turns (avoid going straight) by trying to close them more and more. Skiing requires concentration and alertness, so it is important to take a break after an hour and a half to release nervous fatigue !"

Start off in the Altiport area, a quiet forested area with gently sloping tracks. Mostly used by beginners due to its easy nursery slopes, the Altiport sector leads you directly to the main lift hub.

Once you arrive at the main Chaudanne lift hub, head for the Tougnète gondola to gain some altitude. At the top, take the Tougnète 2 chairlift to reach the top of the mountain! Up here, you can almost touch the clouds. Take the "Crêtes" piste, an easy blue slope which offers a unique panorama over the whole 3 Vallées.

Finally, finish your warm-up on the tracks of champion skiers. It is time to tackle the red "Roc de Fer" piste, a legendary and technical run re-designed for the Courchevel-Méribel 2023 World Ski Championships. This competition will be the unmissable event of this winter! Two whole weeks of spectacular sporting events await you from 6 to 19 February 2023.