Alpine ski racing is a challenging sport, which involves dynamic balance, agility and strength. Unless the racer wants to travel to the Southern Hemisphere in the off-season, on-slope training is limited to the winter months. As such, a dryland training is needed for optimal performance. While strength training is important to the alpine ski racer, balance and agility are crucial. In fact, if you ever traveled to Portillo, Chile in August, when the Austrian Ski team does their summer training, you will notice that Hermann Maier and the other elite athletes spend more time on the stability ball than they do on the weight training equipment.
Train Movements, Not Muscles
Sports medicine experts and movement scientists have found that the brain is better at memorizing movement patterns than muscular isolation. For example, a squat on a balance board bears more similarity to ski racing than the leg extension machine. As such, it is a more effective dryland training device.
Skate to Ski
Inline skating and alpine skiing use similar movement patterns. In fact, there are a number of skating programs that are designed specifically for off-slope training. Some even use ski poles!
Bosu for Balance
The Bosu is the favored piece of equipment for the U.S. Ski Team. The word Bosu stands for "Both sides up," which means that you can use it on either the dome or platform side. The bosu can be used for squats and plyometric exercise. For agility training, have someone toss you a ball while you are balancing on the platform side. On the dome side, you can go into a racer's tuck, and perform subtle edging movements.
Hula Hoop Agility Course
Set up a series of hula hoops on a hill. Practice jumping and hopping from hoop to hoop.
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.