Fitness & Training, Workout at home

How do you optimise your preparation for winter sports?

The idea of winter sports is to vary your enjoyment. Here are some home fitness exercises to optimise your preparation at home, warm-ups to do once you’re there and practical advice for your stay in the mountains. This will ensure that your winter sports holiday is as active as it is unforgettable!

10 winter sports ideas and their benefits


For a successful winter sports holiday, there is a wide range of disciplines to choose from. Here are 10 examples of winter sports to try out:

  • Alpine skiing: Practised in ski resorts, this snow sport is the most popular of all. It consists of hurtling down slopes using skis and poles, with the difficulty level indicated by colour. This physical winter sport is ideal for burning calories and building up thigh muscles.
  • Cross-country skiing: This endurance sport is more akin to running, with only the tip of the boot attached to the skis. The skier uses poles to move forward. This discipline works the whole body.
  • Snowboarding: A lot like surfing, this extreme sport appeals to all thrill-seekers. Creative and playful, it is more accessible than it seems and uses almost all the muscles of the body.
  • Telemark: The ancestor of alpine skiing, telemark allows seasoned skiers to try out new experiences. The heels are not attached to the skis and this sport requires both power and precision.
  • Snowscoot: Do you like BMX or scooters? You will love riding a snowscoot. This  downhill sport invented in the 1990s is composed of several disciplines: Slalom, timed race, freestyle and so on. Involving legs, arms and back muscles, it quickly offers thrills, even for beginners.
  • Mountaineering: Whether you want to complete an indoor activity or start the sport, many resorts offer introductory lessons in  alpine mountaineering. This discipline improves both physical and mental capacities: Perseverance, self-confidence and concentration are the key elements.
  • Speed riding: Ideal for enjoying the immensity of snowy summits, speed riding combines skiing and paragliding.
  • Snowshoes: For a change from your usual hikes, explore the snow-covered forests on snowshoes, alone, or with family or friends. If you don’t enjoy snow sports, this is a good way to get a breath of fresh air and get some exercise during winter sports holidays.
  • Skating: You don’t even need to go to the mountains to skate. Take advantage of your trip to colder climates and skate on a frozen lake in a majestic setting, respecting the recommendations of the guides and the opening hours.
  • Sledging: Pleasant at any age, this stress-busting activity can be practiced with the family. If the descent allows you to enjoy the great outdoors, the ascent on foot puts your legs and buttocks to work, while consuming a few calories.

Preparation and recovery: 5 exercises to do at home


To optimise your winter sports preparation, start training at home a few weeks before your departure. Winter sports are often more intense than those practised during the rest of the year and preparing well for them will significantly reduce the risk of injury. Favour cardio activities since the reduced oxygen available at high altitudes causes shortness of breath to occur sooner. These muscle-strengthening exercises will help you to prepare your body for a winter workout:

  • Squats, to stress the thighs and buttocks.
  • Forward lunges.
  • Mountain climbers or jumping jacks to stimulate the cardiovascular system.
  • Gentle stretching to improve flexibility.
  • Abdominal muscle exercises.

Winter sports: Advice and warm-ups to be done on the spot


Once you’re at your destination, don’t neglect your warm-up and respect the basic safety rules of the mountains: With targeted training carried out over the few weeks before your holiday, you will quickly start to enjoy yourself.

5 tips for successful winter sports sessions

To get the most out of your winter sports holiday:

  • Protect yourself from the sun’s rays, which are particularly intense when they are reflected by the snow: Use sunglasses, cream, etc.
  • Even on holiday, take care of your diet and hydrate yourself: Despite the low temperatures, you will lose fluid by sweating.
  • Cover yourself well: 3 layers of thin clothing made of technical materials are preferable to one thick layer, and provide better insulation.
  • Only practise winter sports on authorised slopes, under the supervision of a guide and with the  advice of an instructor if you are a beginner.
  • Forget the stress of everyday life and enjoy yourself by trying new experiences in an invigorating and exotic setting!

Ideas for targeted warm-ups for winter sports

In the morning, before leaving to explore the summits during a sporting day, take the time to warm up with these exercises to lubricate your joints and limit the risk of injury:

  • Make small circles with your main joints: The neck, shoulders, elbows, knees, ankles, wrists, and so on.
  • Do a series of sumo squats. Place your legs further apart than they would be for classic squats.
  • Do a series of tiptoe dynamic stretches for your calves.
  • Further warm-up exercises, as required.

Check out our Fitness & Training page for more advice.