The 3 Best Stretches for Snow Skiing

Improve your snow skiing and minimize injuries with 3 of the best snow skiing stretches.

by Brad Walker | First Published May 8, 2010 | Updated March 26, 2019
The origin of skiing dates back to 3,000 BC when hunter-gatherers used animal tusks for transportation over ice. Modern day skiing, however, is thought to have evolved some 200 years ago in the Scandinavian countries.

Types of skiing include Alpine skiing, Nordic Skiing, Nordic jumping, free style skiing, telemark skiing, and backcountry skiing. Although not a contact sport, high speeds, high impact collisions, awkward landings and great forces at work on the knee joints make it injury prone.

Snow skiing stretches and flexibility exercises

Muscles used in Snow Skiing

Skiing is a high speed sport that requires strength, endurance, balance, skill, and co-ordination. The major muscles involved are the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, abdominal’s and those of the lower back and shoulders.

Of particular interest are the joints of the lower limbs, which bear the brunt of the forces passing through the body while skiing. The knee joint is the most important joint in skiing, with the ankle joint, the wrist, thumb and shoulder girdle being the other joints of importance.

Improvement in skiing boots and bindings protect the foot, ankle and the tibia from injury. However, this results in the ground forces being transmitted to the semi-flexed knee.

Most Common Snow Skiing Injuries

Skiing is generally considered to be a sport with a high injury risk, although recent advances in design of equipment, as well as technique, have resulted in a drastic reduction of risk.

Injuries to the anterior cruciate ligament of the knee, and spinal injuries, continue to occur at an alarming rate. Thumb injuries are also a common occurrence. While head, neck and spinal injuries are associated with graver outcomes.

Other common snow skiing injuries include:

  • Knee injuries, including damage to the meniscus, the anterior cruciate ligament and the medial collateral ligament;
  • Tibial and ankle injuries, including fractures and sprains;
  • Upper limb injuries, including rotator cuff tears and separated shoulder; and
  • Collar bone injuries, and head, neck and spinal injuries.
Stretches for snow skiing

Injury Prevention Strategies

  • Select proper ski equipment, boots and difficulty of slope according to skier ability.
  • Protect the eyes from glare, prevent laceration or abrasions due to exposure of skin, and use layered clothing suitable for a particular condition.
  • Drink fluids to prevent dehydration.
  • Recreational skiers on a skiing holiday should follow the rule of three: after two days of skiing, the muscles of the lower limb are fatigued and therefore less able to protect against injuries. The rule of three recommends a stop before 3 pm each day, skiing for not more than 3,000m each day and taking the third day off.
  • Undergo physical conditioning for improved muscular strength, endurance, co-ordination and reflexes.
  • Include a proper warm up and cool down, with specific stretches for snow skiing.

The 3 Best Snow Skiing Stretches

Snow skiing stretches are one of the most under-utilized techniques for improving athletic performance, preventing sports injury and properly rehabilitating sprain and strain injury. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that something as simple as stretching won’t be effective.

Below are 3 of the best stretches for snow skiing; obviously there are a lot more, but these are a great place to start. Please make special note of the instructions with each stretch, and if you currently have any chronic or recurring muscle or joint pain please take extra care when performing the stretches below, or consult with your physician or physical therapist before performing any of the following stretches.

Instructions: Slowly move into the stretch position until you feel a tension of about 7 out of 10. If you feel pain or discomfort you’ve pushed the stretch too far; back out of the stretch immediately. Hold the stretch position for 20 to 30 seconds while relaxing and breathing deeply. Come out of the stretch carefully and perform the stretch on the opposite side if necessary. Repeat 2 or 3 times.

Lower back and core stretch for snow skiing
Lying Knee Roll-over Stretch: While lying on your back, bend your knees and let them fall to one side. Keep your arms out to the side and let your back and hips rotate with your knees.
Hip and quad stretch for snow skiing
Kneeling Hip and Quad Stretch: Kneel on one foot and the other knee. If needed, hold on to something to keep your balance and then push your hips forward.
Lower calf and Achilles stretch for snow skiing
Standing Toe-up Calf and Achilles Stretch: Stand upright and place the ball of your foot onto a step or raised object. Bend your knee and lean forward.

Want more Snow Skiing Stretches?

While the recommendations on this page are a good place to start, you'll get a lot more benefit when you add the right stretches to your training program. With the Ultimate Guide to Stretching & Flexibility you'll...

  • The Stretching Handbook, DVD & CD-ROMDo away with stiff, tight muscles and joints;
  • Improve your freedom of movement;
  • Get rid of injuries, aches and pains;
  • Improve your sporting performance; and
  • Take your flexibility to the next level.

You'll get 135 clear photographs and 44 video demonstrations of unique stretches for every major muscle groups in your body. Plus, the DVD includes 3 customized sets of stretches (8 minutes each) for the Upper Body; the Lower Body; and the Neck, Back & Core. And the Handbook will show you, step-by-step, how to perform each stretch correctly and safely. Plus, you'll also learn the 7 critical rules for safe stretching; the benefits of flexibility; and how to stretch properly.

If you want to improve your flexibility and loosen up stiff, tight muscles fast, check out the Ultimate Guide to Stretching & Flexibility for yourself.

Research and References

Brad Walker - AKA The Stretch CoachAbout the Author: Brad Walker is often referred to as the "Stretch Coach" and has even been called the Stretching Guru. Magazines such as Runners World, Bicycling, Triathlete, Swimming & Fitness, and Triathlon Sports have all featured his work. Amazon (author page) has listed his books on five Best-Seller lists. Google cites over 100,000 references to him and his work on the internet. And satisfied customers from 122 countries have sent 1,000's of verified customer reviews. If you want to know about stretching, flexibility or sports injury management, Brad Walker is the go-to-guy.

Disclaimer: The health and fitness information presented on this website is intended as an educational resource and is not intended as a substitute for proper medical advice. Please consult your physician or physical therapist before performing any of the exercises described on this website, particularly if you are pregnant, elderly or have any chronic or recurring muscle or joint pain.