Heading out to the slopes for a winter getaway automatically makes your trip healthier than one spent sitting on a couch somewhere. A day of riding gets your heart pumping, burns tons of calories, boosts your mood and gets you out in the sunshine (here’s hoping for blue sky days during your trip). But since you will be exercising for the duration of your trip and you’ll be outside in the cold, if you don’t plan properly for those things then you might not have the best time on the mountain. So, what do you need to do to prepare for a snowboard trip? For starters, let’s take a look at five ways to get ready for your time on the slopes.
1. Get fit
If snowboarding is your sport of choice, you probably already know that you can’t go from being entirely inactive during the offseason to hitting the slopes for four days straight. Well…you can but it’s not going to be pretty. Instead, you need to build up your fitness level. Start training a month to two in advance of your trip with regular cardio workouts three to five times per week at varying intensities. You should also work on building strength and endurance in your core and lower body with workouts that include squats, lunges, box jumps and planks.
2. Gear up
Whether you own your snowboard gear or you’re planning on renting it on the mountain, there’s a lot of equipment you’ll need for your trip. Ensuring that all of your gear fits properly and is in good working condition will keep you safe on the mountain, make it easier to ride and decrease your chances of injury. Here are some of the items you should make sure to bring or rent:
- Snowboard and bindings
If you’re planning on bringing your own board and bindings, make sure that they are the correct size for your ability level, riding style, favorite terrain and body height. For more information about choosing the correct sized board, check out this sizing guide.
If you’re only planning on buying one piece of snowboarding equipment, make it your boots. While you can rent these on the mountain, it’s not recommended as snowboard boots are designed to conform to your feet so owning your own pair will be more comfortable and ensure they fit correctly. Boots should be snug but not tight to the point of restriction. You should also make sure they fit with the socks you plan to wear on mountain.
Good socks are essential because cold feet can not only ruin your day but they can also become dangerous if they get too cold. Since your feet will sweat from the heat of your boots, you need socks that wick moisture. Thin, synthetic socks work best since your boots are already insulated. Make sure your socks are high enough that your skin doesn’t rub against your boots and cause irritation.
Protecting your head should be one of your first concerns when it comes to your snowboard trip. Bringing a helmet that fits snugly or renting one on the mountain will keep you safe in the case you crash.
- Base and mid layers
On particularly cold days, proper base layering is crucial to staying warm. Try to avoid cotton products because they are neither breathable nor waterproof. Shoot for synthetic materials or wool instead as both fabrics are effective with wicking moisture and maintaining a comfortable body temperature. Depending on the temperature, you might also want to add a mid layer on top of the base layer. Adequate mid layers might include fleeces, sweaters or sweatshirts.
- Jacket, Pants and Gloves
Your pants, jacket and gloves should all have a wind and waterproof outer shell and a breathable fabric that allows sweat to escape but still keeps you warm. Weather on the mountain can fluctuate drastically so owning a jacket that specializes in temperature control is important to help keep you comfortable throughout the day.
Goggles will not only help battle glare from the sun hitting the snow, they will also protect your eyes from the snow, debris and wind while riding.
3. Fuel your body
Keeping your body fueled throughout the day ensures that you have the energy to have fun and stay aware enough to avoid potential injuries. Eat a hearty breakfast with a large portion of protein and complex carbohydrates in the morning.
In addition to eating a healthy breakfast, snacking throughout the day will keep your body performing at its peak. Carry a granola bar or trail mix in your pocket as a mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack. High protein snacks will keep your body working harder longer so you can keep riding all day.
If you’re planning on putting in a whole day on the slopes, make sure you take a break mid-day for a real lunch high in, you guessed it, protein and complex carbohydrates. That way you’ll be less likely to hit that 3pm slump and head home early. Avoid heavy, greasy meals, as you’ll be less likely to get back on the mountain after eating a big plate of nachos. So forego that burger and fries in favor of a turkey burger, bowl of chili or thin crust veggie pizza.
We talk about proper hydration a lot here at QiVantage and that’s because it really is crucial to staying healthy and keeping our bodies performing at peak levels. In general, you should shoot to drink half your body weight in ounces of water every day. But when you’re especially active, you’ll want to increase that quantity based on the amount of water you’re losing while you exercise. Your daily fluid intake should not be lower than what you’re losing as you sweat so drinking water throughout the day will minimize the chances of dehydration.
For more tips on how to keep your body properly hydrated, check out these 7 Facts You Didn’t Know About Hydration for Athletes.
5. Know when to go home
Listen to your body! If you start to feel tired or fatigued, it’s time to go back home or to the condo. When you’re fighting fatigue, you lose your form, technique and rhythm putting you at higher risk for injury. And if you injure yourself, you might be off the slopes for the rest of your trip or even the rest of the season. No one wants that!
Making sure your body, gear and mind is ready for days on the mountain is sure to set you up for a fun and successful snowboard trip. So take that extra time before your vacation to make sure that you’re setting yourself up for a day (or a few) on the slopes.
Proper muscle recovery is one of the #1 ways to ensure your body stays healthy and you’re able to keep riding throughout your whole trip. For some tips on what you need to do and when to help your muscles recover properly, download our FREE QiVantage Day-to-Day Muscle Recovery Checklist.