The best way to train for skiing is to ski, but snow isn’t always available. To prepare for a skiing trip, you need to strengthen both your heart muscles and your skeletal muscles. You can strengthen your heart for skiing with any exercise that will raise your heart rate for at least 10 minutes, at least three times a week. However, to prepare your muscles for skiing, you have to use activities that use your upper legs, such as skating or riding a bicycle.
• Running stresses primarily your lower legs
• Skiing, bicycling and skating stress primarily your upper legs.
Skiing champions Lindsey Vonn, Bode Miller and Phil Mahre were also very good bicycle racers. Eric Heiden won five Olympic gold medals in speed skating and and then became a world class bicycle racer. Jeroen Straathof, Sheila Young and Clara Hughes were all medalists in both skating and cycling. The average bicycle rider or skater is far better prepared for skiing than the average runner. Many joggers who can easily run ten miles find that they can’t ski very long because their upper leg muscles tire and hurt after just a few minutes.
You drive yourself forward in skiing with the muscles in your upper legs. Running stresses your upper leg muscles only when you use them to lift you up when you run hard up hills. Since you ski by bouncing up and down on your knees and shushing forward from your hips, the best sports to prepare yourself for skiing are those that stress primarily your thigh and upper leg muscles. You can use the popular indoor exercise machines that mimic cross-country skiing motions, or ski on dry roads with roller-skis. In-line skating or cycling are good choices for outdoor preparation, particularly if you climb lots of hills. Add a weight training program to strengthen your upper body and arms as well as your legs, and you’ll be ready for the snow.