Your guide to better skiing

Get Warmed Up
Click to follow
The Independent Travel

Skiers at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana are faced with a challenge even before they set off down the slopes. At the top of the main lifts are large signs displaying what appears, at first sight, to be instructions for disco-dancing moves: around drawings of figures in skiwear are arrows indicating a swing of the hips or a wave of the arms.

Skiers at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana are faced with a challenge even before they set off down the slopes. At the top of the main lifts are large signs displaying what appears, at first sight, to be instructions for disco-dancing moves: around drawings of figures in skiwear are arrows indicating a swing of the hips or a wave of the arms.

These manipulations are actually a suggested warm-up routine. The skiers shadow-boxing with one another are merely making their arm and shoulder muscles more supple; the snowboarder lying on his back and wiggling his legs in the air is doing the same for his lower body. Dr Bernard Bornet, one of the four general practitioners who treat injured skiers at the resort, says that such a routine is "a very important way of avoiding accidents and injury". If you start from cold, he says, your muscles will be less responsive; you will therefore not ski well.

"Obviously," he says, "the most important part to work on is the legs." Knee bends and calf stretches are good for relaxing leg muscles and increasing circulation. For the upper body, swinging the arms and shoulders and twisting at the waist offers the same benefit. But devoting five minutes to any form of exercise that warms you up before the first runs of the day - and after lunch - will enable you to ski better and help avoid injury. If you can put up with the taunts from fellow skiers and boarders, you might even try lying on your back and wiggling your legs in the air.

Comments