Horst Abraham, in his book "Skiing Right," wrote that people can learn to swim in the winter and learn to ski in the summer. Abraham was referring to the dynamic pattern theory of motor learning, which states that the brain is more efficient at memorizing patterns of movement than muscle isolation. Ski instructors call it "transfer of training." This theory has significant implications for anyone planning an off-season workout program. In other words, exercises and movement patterns bearing the closest resemblance to your sport will be most effective.
Inline Skating and Skateboarding
Inline skaters often find it easy to learn to ski, as the two sports have some similar movement patterns. Both sports require dynamic balance and require edging, pressure and rotary ankle movements. The International Inline Skating Association has a skate-to-ski summer course, and some ski-skating programs even use ski poles. You can cover your regular ski poles with duct tape or tennis balls with holes punched into them. Snowboarders will also find that skateboarding uses movement patterns that are similar to their sport.
The bosu combines the benefits of a stability ball and a balance board. It is actually half a stability ball, with a rubber dome on one side and a platform on the other. The word "bosu" is actually an acronym, which stands for "both sides up" or "both sides utilized." The bosu resembles a ski mogul when the dome side is facing up. Advanced skiers can practice side-to-side jumps on top of the dome to simulate the movements used in bump training. Novice skiers can prepare for the season by standing on top of the dome and practicing edging movements. Begin by transferring your weight so that it is on the little toe of one foot and the book toe of the other, and then transfer your weight to the other side. Snowboarders will find that working on the platform side of the bosu improves their balance. You can also practice squats and lunges while trying to maintain equilibrium.
Mountain Hiking and Cycling
Some ski resorts offer lift-serviced mountain biking. The weight transference involved in pedaling a bike is similar to that used in skiing. Hiking is also beneficial, especially if you do it at the same resort where you ski. It gives you the chance to feel the terrain that is underneath the snow and develop your proprioception, which is your body's awareness of its position in space. You can practice hiking down the mountain using the movement patterns that resemble the turns used for skiing and snowboarding.
Article Written By Lisa Mercer
In 1999, Lisa Mercer’s fitness, travel and skiing expertise inspired a writing career. Her books include "Open Your Heart with Winter Fitness" and "101 Women's Fitness Tips." Her articles have appeared in "Aspen Magazine," "HerSports," "32 Degrees," "Pregnancy Magazine" and "Wired." Mercer has a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the City College of New York.