Downhill skiing is one of the ultimate winter sports. There are few things that compare to the rush of racing down the side of a mountain on a crisp, winter day. Because ski resorts offer beginner, intermediate, and expert trails, everyone can enjoy the sport, regardless of their experience.
If you’re a beginner, it’s a good idea to sign up for ski school (ski resorts usually offer group classes or one-on-one instruction). You’ll learn how to snowplow and make turns, which will help you master beginner slopes.
When starting out, you should choose skis that are no taller than your body – this will make it easier for you to learn basic techniques. Once you progress to intermediate slopes, you can look for skis that are longer. Since skiing requires you to be in snow, it follows that the location where you will be skiing will be cold. It’s a good idea to wear the proper clothing to keep yourself warm, including gloves, thick socks, and thermal underwear. Also, just because it’s cold don’t assume that you cannot get sunburn. Snow reflects about 90% of UV light, so if you’re out skiing on a sunny day, make sure to apply a sunscreen of at least spf 15 or higher on all exposed areas of your skin.
Skiing can be a very rigorous workout. It not only builds muscle strength and endurance, but also improves balance and coordination. Skiing is particularly good for toning the hamstrings, quadriceps, and glutes, as well as the abdominals, calves and arms. On longer runs, you’ll get a great aerobic workout.
Warming Up and Cooling Down
Carrying your skis from your car to the mountain should be a sufficient warm up – if you’ve broken a sweat, your body is ready to go full throttle. If not, walk around the base of the slopes for five to 10 minutes to warm your muscles and to elevate your heart rate. Opt for an easy trail on your first trip down the mountain.
On your last run of the day your body will be tired, so choose a slope that is not difficult to get down. Ski slowly to avoid wiping out (and getting injured) and to allow your body to cool down.
Be sure to stretch your arms, calves, glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, and arms before and after skiing to prevent injury and soreness.
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