Shape up for the slopes: How to get fit ahead of a ski trip - and it doesn't involve the gym

Forget treadmills and cross-trainers, why not incorporate your ski prep into a holiday instead?

Savvy skiers know it's important to get fit ahead of a trip to the slopes. So instead of hitting the gym, why not try embracing the great outdoors? Ollie Martin, a performance coach and author of Ski Fitness, claims that gym machines don't prepare you for activities such as skiing, where balance is required. “Adventure holidays are a great way of getting fit. Ten minutes on a stationary bike is hard work, but a couple of hours cycling in the mountains is uplifting,” he says.

Sand and snow

For all-round fitness, start the morning with surfing and yoga on the beach – and end the day in the snow. In California, sand and sea are only a 45-minute flight apart. From sun-soaked Santa Monica, head inland to Mammoth Mountain, California's highest ski resort, where you can try night tubing or ease aching muscles in a natural hot spring. 

America As You Like It (; 020 8742 8299) offers a seven-night Surf and Ski holiday from £1,310pp. The price includes flights from Heathrow to Los Angeles, domestic flights, four nights' room-only at the Mammoth Mountain Inn and three nights' room-only at the Oceana Beach Club Hotel in Santa Monica.

Get fat

Swap your skis for two wheels and try the slopes in the saddle. Fat bikes feature wider tyres than regular mountain bikes, making them the perfect vehicle for adrenaline junkies to get around on snow. The Alpina Gstaad in Switzerland (00800 7123 1030; can arrange for guests to use fat bikes around the resort. A three-night stay costs from £1,949 for a double room, including fat bike rental for both guests.

Beach yoga in Santa Monica

Stretch yourself

A new snowshoeing and yoga tour in Val Thorens in the French Alps will add a winter twist to your sun salutations. Strap on the tennis racquet-style footwear and set off through the mountains, stopping along the way for yoga and meditation. The half-day trip, led by the mountain guide Brigitte Ruff and a local yoga instructor, costs €33 (£24), including the hire of poles and snowshoes ( 

Or for a whole week, Soulshine Retreats (; 0808 189 0279) offers Snow Yoga Adventure retreats in La Rosiere, in the Savoie region, from £990pp until the end of March. This includes seven nights' half-board at Chalet Montperron, yoga twice daily, a massage and transfers. 

Cross training

To really feel the burn on skis, skip the chairlift and get about under your own steam with this endurance option. Inntravel (01653 617001; offers cross-country skiing weeks in Finnish Lapland at Yllas, the country's biggest cross-country ski domain. Embark on a six-hour guided tour before returning to your log cabin at the Yllashumina Hotel. The package costs from £1,122pp based on two sharing, including flights from London Gatwick or Manchester to Kittila, transfers, seven nights' half-board, four 90-minute lessons, the guided tour, ski hire and video analysis. Available until 3 April.

Feet first

See Japan's snow country on a fascinating, seven-day guided snowshoeing tour from Tokyo to Nagano. Walk Japan ( has a Snow Country Trek that meanders through a frozen landscape usually inaccessible to visitors. Highlights of the group trip include a beautiful Shinto shrine complex, farming villages, and remote areas where the only other footprints to be seen belong to the local wildlife. Meet locals along the way before resting tired feet at accommodation that varies from pilgrims' lodgings to Japanese inns. The package costs from 308,000 Japanese Yen (£1,800) per person, including full-board accommodation, local transport, snowshoe rental, baggage transfers and entrance fees. Flights not included.