Tag Archives: health

Snowsportscanada.ca recently sat down with Matt Fisher, Director of Long Term Athlete Development and Strength & Conditioning Specialist at Level 10 fitness, to get an inside look at what recreational skiers and snowboarders can do to prepare for next snow season.

1. Get An Assessment

A full assessment with a physiotherapist, athletic therapist  or strength and conditioning coach is of the utmost importance for off season preparation, even if you don’t feel like you have an injury.  Often times an athletic therapist or physiotherapist can pick up anatomical imbalances or biomechanical issues that might not affect you in the present, but may creep up on you in the future.  Addressing these issues when you have time during the off season will save you a lot of frustration and missed days during the ski season.  Be aware though, not all trainers and strength coaches are created equal, so do your homework on who you are going to see for an assessment.

2. Work On Flexibility and Mobility 

Most of us are already too tight or stiff from our everyday lives due to sitting too much at the office, driving all day or slouching over for computer work . It is important to strengthen the body in a proper, full range of motion on a regular basis in order to ensure that you maintain your flexibility and prepare your body for the awkward motions that may arise during skiing. Ensuring that you do proper stretching and foam rolling will keep you limber and has the ability to prevent you from stiffening up even more once you start a strength training program.

3. Try Something Completely Different

While surfing in the sunshine is a lot different than skiing in a blizzard, try participating in activities that are completely different than your snow sport of choice. For example, feel free to indulge in recreational sports such as soccer, softball, or hiking,  so that your body gets a rest and your mind avoids the monotony of the same old movement patterns year round.

4. Improve Neck Strength

While there isn’t a lot of available research to support this, one of the greatest risks in snow sports are head injuries and concussions. Strengthening the neck and surrounding muscle tissues can minimize the potential damage from a traumatic head or neck injury.  While we’d like to avoid all injuries, head injuries are one’s to be taken most seriously and have the greatest long term implications. The best bet beyond wearing a proper sized helmet that fits well is to strengthen the neck.

5. Strengthen Your Glutes

The gluteals are a group of three muscles which make up the buttocks: the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius and gluteus minimus. Although glute strengthening is important for all athletes, the role that the glutes play (particularly the gluteus medius) in knee health is extremely important for snow sport athletes, as the knee is a joint that withstands a lot of tension throughout a day on the slopes. Most individuals have a weak gluteal group due to basic daily movement patterns. Strengthening the gluteal muscle group not only improves performance for skiers and snowboarders, but also ensures proper alignment of the hip, knee and ankle, therefore minimizing the risk of ACL, PCL, and MCL injuries during the season.

About Matt Fisher: Currently, Matt is the lead Strength and Conditioning coach for the Canadian National Slopestyle Team and works individually with several other national snow sport athletes, including Ski Cross athlete Dave Duncan and Half Pipe Skier Matt Margetts. Matt has had the opportunity to work with thousands of athletes over his 12 year career from the grassroots up to international and professional, including 9 Olympic teams and 3 Paralympic teams.


This Issue: Smart food choices to get the most out of your ski day

Marcel Hoelzerr

Swiss-trained chef Marcel Holzherr has run critically acclaimed restaurants in Canmore and Banff Alberta, been a private chef at a BC heli-ski lodge and run cooking classes for athletes to help them make good nutritional choices. His ability to cater to athletes’ unique dietary needs led to his role as chef for Canada’s alpine ski team at the 2002 Salt Lake City, 2006 Turin, and 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games. In 2014, he’ll be heading to Sochi to cook for Canada’s cross-country team. Below, Marcel shares his advice on the best foods to fuel your own ski day, whether you’re a hard-skiing powder hound or a family with kids.


A good breakfast at home will have you feeling energized and ready as soon as you hit the ski hill. Marcel recommends something like porridge (steel-cut oats) or buckwheat pancakes with lots of fresh fruit and natural yoghurt, or eggs with pan-fried potatoes. In his experience, the natural carbs in potatoes stay with you longer and keep you feeling energetic without feeling full. “When you eat clean fuel your body recovers quicker – it can burn and absorb the food more quickly. If you feel tired, it’s because your ingredients aren’t great.”

Tip: For quick and nutritious hash browns, boil potatoes the night before and roast or pan fry them in the morning. Avoid flavoured yoghurts and go for natural – it contains less sugar and sweeteners


Most hills don’t offer great food options, so Marcel says he always packs his own. The keys to a lunch that will replenish your energy and rebuild your muscle cells for the second half of your ski day are a light protein (white meat or fish, or veggie sources from lentils or dried beans), along with carbs. This kind of protein is lighter and easier to digest than red meat. Eating carbs and protein together helps both to digest more easily.

Marcel’s favourite lunch choices are a sandwich and home-made bean salad. For the sandwich, choose spelt bread (or some sort of whole or ancient grain) and fill with avocado, turkey breast and cream cheese, plus any other vegetables you like – lettuce, tomato etc. The bean salad is any combination of dried beans (dried lentils, chick peas, kidney beans, black peas etc.) which provide an excellent vegetable protein.

Some mountains, like Whistler, do offer a wide range of choices. If buying your lunch in the ski lodge, make smart choices: go for chili, soup or even the salad bar. Pizza might even be OK if it’s a homemade flatbread. Remember – you’re looking for a combination of light protein (white meat or vegetable protein) and a whole grain carbohydrate.

Tip: To make bean salad the night before, soak then boil the beans till softened. Mix with olive oil, lemon juice, parsley, salt and pepper.


A small bag of nuts and dried fruit will fit in your pocket and be easy to carry and eat on the chairlift between runs. Pack any mix you like: almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts along with dried fruits like mangos, coconut, apples, raisins, figs and dates. Eating smaller amounts throughout the day means you’ll never feel hungry – especially important if you’re going to go out and ski hard for several hours without a break.

Tip: Figs and dates in particular are an excellent natural sugar source. Marcel uses fig and date bars for skiers who have to wait hours in the warming hut during weather delays, because it enables them to maintain their energy but keep their stomachs empty and be ready to race on a moment’s notice. They’re great for recreational skiers too, especially kids.

Stay Hydrated

You might not think you’re thirsty when you’re out skiing in the cold, certainly not the way you’d feel on a hot run or in the gym. But Marcel cautions that most people get very dehydrated when they ski. You might also feel dizzy from altitude. Water is very important, and he suggests everyone carry a water bottle. Tea is a good alternative if you need a warm-up at lunch, but avoid pop, coffee and alcohol which are all dehydrating. Remember if you drink several cups of coffee before you hit the slopes in the morning, you’ll need to drink extra water during the day to rehydrate.