Important considerations for creating an in-season maintenance program for skiing and snowboarding
Post-exercise Nutrition The first thirty minutes after exercise is a critical window of opportunity for refueling. Be sure to include a mix of carbohydrates and protein to begin recovery from training. If getting off the hill or out of the gym takes extra time, plan accordingly and bring a post-training snack to start the re-fueling process.
Warmup and Recovery Appropriate active dynamic warmups prepare the body for exercise: warming the muscles, starting the sweating and metabolic processes and allowing for better mobility and dynamic movements. Recovery activities after training can include foam rolling or static stretching, a light walk or spin, or time in a cold tub. These activities should be an integral part of a well-rounded program, not just something to be added if you have extra time.
Weekly Planning As an important component of the competition season, proper planning allows a coach to balance on-snow training and competition, dryland weights and cardio, and recovery sessions, with travel, rest and the other demands of life. It is also important to balance the volume of on- and off-snow activities with rest days to allow recovery from training and assure optimum preparedness for competition.
Gym Strength Sessions The only way to maintain the gains made during the off-season is with time in the gym and appropriate weight training. While many clubs may not have the funds or access to a full gym or adequate equipment, especially with travel demands, there is no substitute for the physical and neural demands of strength training. To best maintain strength and account for in-season training, intensity should be high/heavy while volume is reduced.
Conditioning Demands Maintaining fitness to ski and train is important throughout the season, but should also consider the cardio demands of the sport task. Events such as alpine downhill or snowboardcross will create a high-intensity anaerobic stimulus. Assuming those qualities are maintained during training and competing, the dryland training will often focus on aerobic conditioning.
Sleep Adequate rest and sleep is one of the best methods of recovery, especially for young athletes. This can also include afternoon naps during heavier blocks of training.
Consistency is extremely important throughout the competitive season. Skipping even one week of regular strength training can result in excess soreness, while poor planning could lead to decreases in strength and fitness over the course of a season.
Long-term athlete development includes the year-to-year evolution of physical qualities and athletic abilities. A poorly planned competition season means that each off-season will start over, instead of building over time. The planning of appropriate training methods and stimuli with periods of intensified loading and recovery will help athletes develop long-term adaptation and improvements for their sport.