But fitness experts say proper conditioning can make the difference between a fun weekend on the slopes and one waylaid by injury.
To minimize fatigue and risk of injury, Forster, physical therapist to 42 Olympic medalists, suggests getting in ski-shape before hitting the slopes.
“All fitness begins with an aerobic base,” he said. “So six weeks before, start training with an elliptical trainer or stationary bike, or running or walking. Build up to 20 to 30 minutes three times a week.”
Aerobic training also strengthens muscles, Forster said, so any subsequent agility drills, such as running sideways or skipping, will be even more effective if you’ve established an aerobic base.
Stretch before skiing to protect against injury and enhance freedom of motion; stretch afterward to return the muscles to their normal length, said Forster.
He calls stretching the single most important thing people can do for body health maintenance.
“Connective tissue shortens with time,” he explained. “We stretch to maintain good alignment of the bones.”