Words by Caroline Brauer |
There’s no denying the truth. Spring has hit in the Aussie and Kiwi Alps. With spring comes that unmistakable change of snow from firm and fast to soft and slushy. For many of us, soft and slushy snow equals leg burn and if we’re not snow fit, the risk of injury escalates tenfold. To help you have the most fun on the slopes this spring, we’ve put together 6 reasons why you need to step up your snow fitness to take on spring skiing and snowboarding.
1. Spring snow is heavier than winter snow
Due to the melt that occurs during springtime, spring snow has higher moisture content, making it denser (or “heavier”) than its more sleek and sophisticated winter cousin. To help us plough through the heavy snow, spring skiing and snowboarding demands more of us, asking us to engage all of our muscles, particularly our leg and core muscles. While our muscles are on overdrive like a 4WD, it’s common to fatigue more quickly if you’re more of a Suzuki Swift.
To tackle the heavier snow conditions, Director of Snow Fitness and two time Winter Olympian Manuela Berchtold recommends consistently doing ski and/or snowboard specific exercises to maintain a level of snow fitness that’ll have you churning through chunky spring snow as if you’re floating in knee deep pow (wouldn’t that be nice?).
“With the end of the season still a month away, it’s not too late to get your ski legs into shape this spring,” explains Berchtold. “Snow Fitness offers a fast-track 10-day Snow Fitness Program that will have you turning, not burning in the springtime snow.”
2. More lumps, more bumps!
Thanks to the warmer temps and softening snowpack of spring, the slopes tend to become more bumpy and rutted out faster during the day. Softer snow also means the snow groomers aren’t able to groom as extensively across the resorts overnight, meaning even your favourite groomers may be bumpy and rutty from the moment the lifts start turning in the morning.
Ruts and bumps are far more taxing on our bodies, jerking all our muscles into motion and requiring them to work harder, faster and for longer throughout the day. To attack these more variable conditions, you’ll need a much higher level of snow fitness.
So that our muscles aren’t caught off guard causing us to hang up the boots and retire to the bar by lunchtime, Snow Fitness recommends incorporating ski and snowboard specific exercises to condition those particular muscles we engage in spring snow. Snow Fitness provides its members with over 600 ski and snowboard specific exercises that will keep you fit, strong and flexible – the winning combination for laying Bode Millar type trenches in the slush.
3. Slushy springtime terrain park fun
You’ll definitely need to be snow fit to make your mark in slushy springtime terrain parks. Heavier, stickier snow means it’s more difficult to get the right amount of speed into jumps and rails. Also, landings are likely to be soft and possibly sticky, meaning increased chance of injury if you’re not strong enough to correct your landing.
With a good level of ski and snowboard fitness you’ll be able to push yourself and reach the right speed for the in run of jumps and rails, and nail that landing like Russ Henshaw. Snow Fitness programs include terrain park specific ski and snowboard exercises that will make you totally explosive in the park. And so you can stay in the park longer this springtime, all you need to get ski and snowboard fit with Snow Fitness is 31 minutes a day.
4. Four seasons in one day
Springtime in the mountains delivers a kaleidoscope of conditions; from sun to snow and from subzero to mid teen temps in one day. On top of this, we can still experience super cold subzero temperatures overnight causing a freeze on the top layer of snow, making it firm and fast in the morning, quickly changing to soft and slushy during the day. The net result is that the snowpack is about as dependable as a pubescent teenager, requiring us to quickly adapt to ever-changing conditions.
To help us avoid the high risk of injury that these conditions bring, it’s smart to be snow fit, concentrating on our legs and our core so that we can adjust to the rapidly changing, often sticky snow conditions.
According to two-time Winter Olympian Jono Brauer, “Due to the variable conditions and heavy, softening snowpack that comes in springtime, it’s more important to be snow fit in spring than any other time. Snow Fitness’ 10-day, 30-day and Premium Access Memberships are a smart way to get snow fit and avoid injury.”
5. Hard on zee knees!
Thanks to the heavier snow, knees that aren’t supported by the right amount of muscle have a tendency to come off second best to springtime snow conditions. It’s easy for knees to find themselves in obscure angles and it’s also common to catch the tips of your skis or snowboard in the soft snow, which can result in knee injury.
6. Safety first
Being snow fit is a smart way to stay safe on the slopes. With spring snow demanding more of us, you can stay out of the way of loose cannon types of skiers and snowboarders who are struggling to stay in control in the springtime snow. With a decent level of snow fitness, you’ll be able to maintain control on the slopes and pull up more quickly in case of emergency. Enough said. Snow Fitness is key this spring.
Words by Caroline Brauer
Riding images by Thredbo