When snowboard season comes to a close every year, riders often take to other outdoor activities to stay active until the next snowfall. While some choose alternative board sports like skateboarding and surfing, many choose other sports and training methods to keep them strong, balanced and in proper cardiovascular condition for the mountain. And although some sports will keep you in better shape for snowboarding than others, it’s most important that you stay active in the off-season with a diverse amount of training methods, to make sure you’re in shape and minimize your risk of injury when you hit the slopes again.
Many avid snowboarders live near the mountains and ski hills they like to ride. Fortunately, those mountains are often equipped with trails that can be used to get in shape without snow on the ground. Trail running (long-distance running on outdoor hiking trails) helps maintain and improve cardiovascular fitness as well as coordination.
Because snowboarding is deeply rooted in its parent sport of skateboarding, it’s easy to see that mastering one can lead to mastering the other. Skateboarding requires the very same eye-to-foot coordination as snowboarding, as well as the superior balance and lower body strength that snowboarding demands.
You don’t have to stop cruising down mountains just because snowboarding season has ended. Mountain biking is an excellent way to get back out on your favorite snowboarding terrain without snow on the ground. Many ski hills and mountains offer mountain biking terrain in the off-season, but if you’re not located near a ski resort, a number of websites like singletracks.com can help you find mountain biking trails near you.
While a number of snowboarding’s tricks are rooted in skateboarding, surfing is the original boardsport dating all the way back to Western Polynesia roughly 3,000 years ago. This ancient water sport requires the incredible balance, coordination. and strength that’s needed on the mountain and can be an ideal cross training sport if you live near the coast.
Riders who live near lakes can also take to the water and work on their snowboard skills in the off season. Wakeboarding offers a forgiving landing (water) that’s perfect for practicing tricks that you may be hesitant to try on the hard-packed snow. The sport of wakeboarding requires upper and lower body strength as well as the balance needed to excel on the mountain.
One of the best ways to prevent injury on the mountain is to keep your body flexible, and activities like Yoga and Pilates can be used to improve your flexibility and concentration. Both of these abilities will help you perform better and reduce risk of injury when it comes time to hit the slopes. Yoga or Pilates classes can be a great way to get started, but you don’t have to pay for an expensive gym membership to get your snowboard cross training in -- a number of yoga and pilates resources are available online to help you get started at home.
Cardiovascular training is essential to helping with your endurance on the mountain, but you don’t have to love running to get your cardio training. Sports like swimming and cycling can help you get that much-needed cardiovascular strength without having to strap on your running shoes. Swimming is also an excellent full-body workout that helps develop the core strength that so many riders need, but lack.
Diversify Your Training
While strength, cardiovascular and balance training are essential when preparing for snowboard season, the most important part of your off-season training is to mix up your exercises and make your training enjoyable, so you’ll get out there and train more often. According to physical trainer Emily Etie, practicing a variety of sports that focus on different parts of your body is the only way to help it reach optimal functionality. So instead of focusing on one off-season sport, try to diversify your training with a number of cross training activities.