Do you ever feel that all the hard work you put in on your last snowboard trip will waste away over the Summer? Well, this is actually a great chance to improve your snowboarding, and make sure you return better, sharper, and more confident that when you last strapped the board to your feet!
My name’s Katie Blundell, I’m a snowboarder and have competed internationally as well as being fortunate enough to have had a load of great sponsors. I had to maintain my fitness over the Summer when I was competing so here are my top tips to staying in shape and not losing your board skills!
Ways to improve your snowboarding in the Summer!
You feel really great after a snowboard trip, and you want to keep how you feel RIGHT NOW so you are ready for action as soon as the snow starts falling next season. But alas it’s summer, you’ve earned a bit of a relax after the winter, and it is nice to chill and feel laidback in the sun!
All is not lost though; you can still keep that “snow fit” body ticking over until it’s time to unleash it again. In fact, there are some things you can do in the off-season to actually improve your snowboarding, meaning you return to the sport even better than before.
Here are some fun ways to improve your snowboarding when you’re not in the mountains
Although pretty obvious GET YOURSELF TO THE GYM. It doesn’t have to be long hours looking at a white wall on the treadmill. You can make it fun! In fact, don’t even go on the treadmill as it’s not great for your snowboard knees anyway (thank god).
In a gym session try do a combination of endurance (cross trainer/ bikes/ rowing/ side stepper), strength (weights, squats, squats, squats, squats, more squats), balance/ core (swiss ball/ medicine ball/ core exercises) and flexibility (warm down/ yoga/ stretching). These are all important elements for snowboarding. Gyms normally have a Personal Trainer who should be more than happy to create a specific program tailored towards snowboarding.
Then mix it up, don’t stick to the same routine for weeks on end as you can lose enthusiasm. Go with friends to motivate you (a chance to exercise those lungs too). Subtly steal exercises from other people and befriend Google (“best gym exercises for snowboarding”). There’s also an app called Sworkit that gives you different exercises for different parts of your body for different amounts of time. No equipment needed so you could also use this at home. The “Core” one is particularly good for snowboarding.
Mix-up your gym sessions with exercise classes. You can’t get away with slacking when there’s an actual instructor there. Again, a combination of cardio classes (Body Combat, Zumba, Circuits, Spin, Aerobics, Aqua Fit….anything that gets your heart rate going) with slower, more mellow classes (Yoga, Pilates, Body Balance). Variety is the spice of life and ALL types of exercise will benefit your snowboarding in one way or another. For example, Yoga is not only good for making you more supple for snowboarding manoeuvre, but benefits your state of mind too. It can help you to focus whilst on the mountain.
Skate/ Surf/ Wake/ Kite Surf
Each board sport has a slightly different technique to snowboarding, but doing any of them will work on your strength, balance and coordination and give you that fix of riding sideways.
Skating is an easy one to pick up. Boards are relatively cheap and you can skate anywhere (err within reason, maybe stick to long, straight, flat surfaces to begin with). Your feet are positioned differently on the skateboard than a snowboard, so remember that when you start. Also remember you are now on concrete and your feet aren’t attached to your board! If you’re worried that all the skaters are half your age, just wear some sunnies. Problem solved. Skating is a fun summer sport to do and a good way to commute. Definitely beats getting the bus. If you’re feeling confident you could also take it to the skate park?!
Surfing a wave is said to feel like riding deep powder. So close your eyes and imagine you are back in the mountains…for a split second as ideally you will need them open to surf. It’s a similar technique to powder riding with lots of weight on your back foot. It’s a great cardio work out too as you’ll be lugging that HUGE board (in comparison) in and out of the waves. I’ll tell you what; a summer of surfing will make snowboarding seem like a walk in the park fitness wise. It makes you SO fit! And tanned.
Wakeboarding is another exciting one to do. Relatively easy to pick up if you snowboard, and it gives you the chance to do tricks. You have to take into account that you are now holding a rope, you don’t want to end up with a lasso round your neck when you are trying a 360. There are lots of cable parks around the UK now, and if tricks aren’t your thing, you can literally just go and carve the water. This is equally as fun and keeps those thighs in tip top condition.
Kite surfing is a very technical board sport…first of all you need to learn to fly a kite. Sounds simple BUT there is a lot to learn before you can even progress to taking it to the water. It’s one of the more expensive board sports to get into and very weather/ wind dependent (cross-shore, cross-onshore winds the best), but when you can fly 10 foot+ above those waves, it’s worth it. So if you get a chance, give it a go.
Hands down one of the best activities for strengthening those snowboard legs. Do it, as much as you can. Cycle to the shops, cycle to work, cycle to the gym (hardcore) or cycle to Spin Class (mega hardcore). Just try and incorporate it into your daily routine wherever you can. And before you know it, those legs will be so powerful and ready to attack the mountains.
Trampolining and gymnastics are great ways to improve spatial awareness and agility – skills which are incredibly beneficial to snowboarding. It’s also a safe (ish) way to work on snowboard tricks (if that’s what you’re into?!) Plus it’s a really good way to work out but it’s so fun that it doesn’t even feel like exercise. Trampolining can burn 500 calories per hour! Many of the top snowboarders come from gymnastic backgrounds, so get yourself signed up for some gymnastic lessons (you’re never too old) as this will provide an excellent base for any snowboarding. There are also a million trampoline parks popping up all over the UK at the moment, so worth checking out your nearest one.
Dry Slope/ Indoor
You can do all this preparation, but nothing keeps you as fit for snowboarding as doing the real thing. There are so many snow domes and dry slopes all over the UK now, that it’s very accessible to get “strapped in” during the off-season. It’s expensive to go all the time, but even if you just go a couple times over the summer it will keep that muscle memory there. This will make it quicker to get back to where you left off last season. Dome and dry slope are different techniques to riding the real stuff. Indoor snow varies between domes (fast/ slow/ icy/ coarse/ sticky) and everything is done at a much slower pace. Dry slope, well if you can master riding that, riding a mountain will be EASY! Make it into a social occasion and hook up with all your snowboard mates and get excited about your trips next winter. It’s also a good excuse to get dressed up in all your snow gear (don’t pretend you haven’t done this in front of the mirror at home already) and imagine you are in the mountains again.
So with all of these activities, not only will you have a jam-packed summer, but you’ll also have a snow fit body to die for and will more than likely make the next Olympics!