Training for the winter season – Finding the balance

Words by Angelica Sykes – Competitive Freeride Athlete.

I have really enjoyed staying in shape this summer. It has been a real mixed bag of activities along with some regular workouts. Immediately after the winter I was focusing on the gym, however I have realised there are so many other ways to stay fit and incorporate the outdoors into your workout.

This is what helps prepare your body for the physically demanding tasks of freeride skiing or snowboarding. As we are beginning to understand, it’s not just the blissful and euphoric surf in the powder, and more often than not involves pretty intense hikes at altitude.

So how do I prepare?


Yoga is about using your own body weight to build strength, while working on your breathing. As an effective tool for preventing injury and combating muscular imbalances in snowboarders, the benefits of yoga are immense. It’s a great workout, while also building a sense of calm and this is what you need for preseason prep.

angelica sykes yoga

Mountain Biking and Cycling

A good amount of cardiovascular exercise is a must when training for snowsports – and I love mountain biking for this reason. This is because, generally speaking, you work at between 65-75% heart rate which is optimum fat burning level and a great way to increase blood flow and increase lung capacity. It also doesn’t take a genius to realise the benefits for your leg muscles are endless; it’s a non-load bearing activity which means you control the effort and ultimately, the results.

angelica sykes mountain biking


Running in a place as beautiful as Lake Garda makes running much easier. For many years I found running utterly boring and not worth the aches and pains of the morning. However I can now see why people love it so, not even mentioning how excellent it is to get your legs prepared for the winter season. In particular, trail running is great for both your legs and building ankle strength due to the uneven and changeable nature of the terrain. Sounding worth it? Of course it is!

angelica sykes running

Paddle Boarding

Paddle Boarding is not something we can all do on a regular basis, but if you live near a calm river, lake or the sea you can certainly include this as part of your training programme. The intense core workout you will receive from paddle boarding is not unlike one you get during a day on the mountain, as you continually move your legs and engage your core to remain balanced. Not only that but you incorporate your arms working both the biceps and triceps. This is good for when you are scrambling to the top of your line, clinging to the mountain side for dear life! Read more about paddle boarding for ski fitness here.

Aside from all these fun and outdoorsy activities, weight training needs to still remain a key part of your preseason freeride prep. You don’t necessarily have to have weights at home to do so, in fact some amazing work outs I have seen online simply incorporate your own weight instead of dumbells for example.

I cannot claim to be any kind of expert here as I have had the virtue of having a trainer explain it all to me personally, so I would recommend you check out the Ski Club’s tips for ski fitness here, as well as checking out my favourite tutorials with Austrian snowboarding legend and my hero Bibi Pekarek.

Session 1:

Session 2:


If this isn’t enough to get you in the right head space for the winter season then follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for my training updates.



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