Snowboarding is one of my favorite winter sports. When I came across an opportunity to interview Dr. David Goltz, head team physician for the US Freestyle Ski Team and Orthopedic Surgeon with Marin General Hospital in California, you can bet I jumped all over it! My main questions for Dr. Goltz were things I’ve wanted to know for years, such as what types of exercises can you do at sea level to train for a day on the hill and how can you warm up properly? Here is what Dr. Goltz had to say. Enjoy!
Interview with Dr. David Goltz, US Freestyle Ski Team Head Physician
1) What are some good exercises a person can do to stretch and “warm up” before a day of skiing or snowboarding?
“Get moving! Do something active before getting on the hill. Spending 5-10 minutes getting the blood flowing with light activity to heat up the body can have huge benefits. Park farther away from the lift so you have to walk a farther distance to get in. Once you’re breathing hard and sweating a little, some very simple bodyweight exercises will complete the process of preparing you for activity: bodyweight squats and lunges (add in some gentle reaches and twists with the arms), hiking up stairs while skipping a step, etc. Even push-ups can be useful for warming up the upper body and torso which can help prevent upper body injuries when you crash. And we all crash.”
2) How important is core strength to skiing and snowboarding? What type of exercises can a person do at home or the gym to strengthen their core?
Core strengthening is critical to performance and injury prevention in sports! If you only do two core stabilization exercises do side planks and front planks. Make your goal holding each plank for two minutes.
3) How many calories do you really burn while skiing or snowboarding?
This really depends on a LOT of factors. Type of runs, how aggressive you are, how many runs, how warm it is and what you are wearing, how fit you are…the list goes on and on.
4) What are some good exercises for someone who does not live in the snow to do to prepare for a weekend of skiing or snowboarding?
I recommend a base of aerobic exercise combined with core stabilization and sport specific strengthening. For snow sports, do planks, wall sits and plyometrics of some kind. Plyometrics involve some amount of stretch and contraction, or “springiness” to the exercise. Burpees and box jumps are good examples. Adding an element of balance is very helpful, too. Try one legged, body weight squats, and then try the same exercise standing on a less stable surface; like a folded up towel.
5) What is the number one tip you have for someone who wants to be an AWESOME skier or snowboarder?
Besides hitting the slopes athletically prepared, I have learned one crucial tip from taking care of the US Freestyle Ski Team: to be awesome, VISUALIZE! Picture your turns, your tricks in the park, your drops and your bump-runs. Visualize how the board or skis feel under your feet, and how your body will feel in each part of your run. Then, visualize how stoked you will feel after you stomp that run! Visualize awesome to be awesome, and then go crush it!
Do you have any questions for Dr. Goltz? What are they? Post in the comments and let us know.
*Additional information (in quotes) furnished by Mike Bahn, Strength and Conditioning Coordinator, US Ski and Snowboard Association
Is there a proper way to fall when skiing to avoid injury?
Dave Goltz says
Don’t “muscle back up” with your quads while falling. Your Quad muscle can actually tear your ACL.
Thank you, Dave!