Are You Ready for the Mountain? 5 Exercises to Determine your Readiness for the Slopes.

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With ski season here, most people create a checklist to make sure all their gear is ready to go. Edges are sharpened, boards are waxed, goggle lenses are replaced, and you're ready for the first good snow of the season. With all the attention we pay to the material goods of the sport, we tend to forget about our bodies' readiness to hit the slopes. Do your legs have the endurance for a full day of skiing or snowboarding? Is your balance good enough to keep you off the ground? These are essential questions you need to answer before heading to the mountain. The key to a successful and injury-free day are endurance, strength, agility, and balance. Below are a list of exercises to challenge each of these areas; they can also be used as a screening tool to assess your readiness for the slopes.

STRENGTH: Single Leg Sit to Stand

Stand slightly in front of a chair on one leg and straighten your other leg out in front of you with your foot off the ground. Slowly lower yourself down to the chair, tap the edge, and stand back up. Do this 10 times on your right leg. Repeat 10 times on your left leg.

Passing Criteria:

- Ability to complete 10 times on each leg

- Ability to maintain balance throughout entire movement (not falling over)

- Ability to slowly lower down and lift yourself back up with control

- No pain


With your back against the wall and feet flat on the floor a few steps in front of you, lower yourself down so your knees are at a 90 degree angle. Hold this position for 1 minute.

Passing Criteria:

- Ability to hold position for 1 minute

- No pain

BALANCE: Single Leg Balance

Stand near a surface you can easily grab onto if needed. Stand on one foot and have a slight bend in your knee. While maintaining your balance on one foot, alternate turning your head to the right and left 10 times each direction. Repeat standing on the opposite foot.

Passing Criteria:

- Not falling over, grabbing the surface, or putting your other foot down

- No dizziness, double vision, or nausea

- No pain

AGILITY: Lateral Ski Jump

Start standing on your left foot. Pushing off your left leg, jump sideways and land on your right foot. Land with control and maintain your balance. Then push off of your right leg, jump sideways, and land on your left foot. Land with control and maintain your balance. Repeat 10 times on each leg.

Passing Criteria:

- Ability to complete 10 on each side

- Landing with control and maintaining balance after each jump

- Not falling over or using your other leg for support

- No pain


Starting on your forearms in the plank position on your toes. Hold for 1 minute with good form.

Passing Criteria:

- Able to hold for 1 minute

- No sagging in the shoulders or trunk

- Keeping pelvis level

- No pain

These exercises are just a few ways to assess the strength, control, and balance you need on the mountain. Ultimately, it is important to maintain a consistent exercise program of strength and cardiovascular training, as well as allowing adequate recovery for whole body fitness. If you have any pain with any of the above exercises, it is best to seek the care of a physical therapist or licensed healthcare professional before skiing or snowboarding.

For exercise ideas to improve each of these areas, check out my previous blog titled How Do I Prepare My Body for Snowboarding and Skiing? Exercise Tips to Stay Injury Free This Season.

Disclaimer:  The views expressed in this article are based on the opinion of the author, unless otherwise noted, and should not be taken as personal medical advice. The information provided is intended to help readers make their own informed health and wellness decisions.

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Our commitment to help you be active for life lives in every member of today’s Activcore team. But its origin can be traced to the inspirational stories of our company founders, Ian Kornbluth, Jamie Kornbluth and Tyler Joyce. The meaningful actions of these physical therapists have led us to three essential values that guide our work.
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