Today I am en route to Colorado for a weekend of skiing, ice fishing and fun with my bestie! I’m so excited for a getaway (even if it is to another snow-covered state) and to relax this weekend. 

Steamboat Springs | Skiing


So, since I’ll be enjoying a weekend of downhill skiing, I thought today’s topic would be especially relevant —> runners and downhill skiing benefits. I am not going to do my long run this weekend because I will be spending most of the time on downhill skis. And, it doesn’t mean it’ll be a weekend wasted for my training. 

Runners and downhill skiing: the muscles worked and the benefits! | Crazy Running Girl



What muscles are worked when downhill skiing? 

Surprise, surprise —> downhill (or alpine) skiing works all of your leg muscles (along with some upper body too, but mostly your legs):

  • Hip muscles
  • Hamstrings
  • Quadriceps
  • Calves
  • Foot muscles


I love this little image from the USSA:

Muscles involved in downhill skiing | Crazy Running Girl


It’s always amazing to me how many muscles you actually work when you are downhill skiing because you are letting gravity do a lot of it and sometimes it feels like you are just along for the ride.

However, over the past few years — mostly once I started to do Colorado skiing — I’ve started to learn that downhill skiing does not mean you just go straight down the mountain as fast as you can (which I used to do, made for some pretty crazy crashes), and that you do need to have some skill.

And with that, I’ve learned that my legs fatigue much more than they ever did before. 


Runners and downhill skiing: What are the main benefits? 

So seriously: I count it as cross-training! I will probably be on the mountain for 5 or 6 hours on Friday and the same on Sunday; granted, a lot of that is spent on ski lifts and enjoying some drinks in the altitude, but there’s a lot of time on my feet too. 

The interwebs tell me that with “moderate” exertion, you can burn about 85 calories downhill skiing per every 15 minutes. That’s much more than you can do for running! No wonder why it’s so exhausting. 😉

That being said, I think there are several benefits for runners from downhill skiing:

  • Time on your feet. Some training plans focus more on working in “time on your feet” versus talking about specific number of miles. With downhill skiing, you definitely get a lot of time on your feet so you fatigue your muscles… which always comes into play at the end of a run. 
  • A workout, plain and simple. Yes! Whether you agree that it’s the same exertion as running, it’s definitely a workout for your legs. It may not work them in the same way, but fitness is fitness. And inevitably, it translates to more strength, which is never a bad thing. 
  • A break. Don’t get me wrong, I love to run. But there are times, especially in the midst of marathon training, where I just need a break. I feel like I’m at that point this week (and so happy that I have a “recovery” week on the schedule)… so it’s definitely rewarding to say goodbye to the roads for a few days and challenge myself in a different way. 


And there you have it! I’m linking up with Rachel, Debbie and Susie for this week’s Running Coaches’ Corner! Details on how you can join in below. 


Do you downhill ski? Do you feel like it’s good cross-training? 

What’s your favorite non-running sport? 

Where are you headed on your next vacation? 

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