Whether it’s your first time strapping on a snowboard in years or you’re on the mountain from dawn to dusk every day, every rider gets sore from time to time. Whenever you’re pushing your body to new limits -- whether it be five straight hours in the terrain park or a long hike to deeper powder -- you’re likely to end up feeling sore.
Although proper off-season dry-land training and warming up before you strap on your board for the day are excellent ways to reduce post-snowboarding soreness, many riders skip these drills and head straight for the chairlift. This overzealous attitude results in a lot more pain later on.
When soreness starts to set in after a long day on the mountain, follow these simple steps to ease your pain, so you can get back on the snow the very next day.
Stretch Immediately After Your Last Run
Before you pack your board into the car and start the drive down the mountain, it’s essential to stretch your muscles first. That extensive amount of sitting you do in the car after you ride allows lactic acid to build up in your muscles and for soreness to settle in before you even get home. While your lower body deserves most of the stretching, it’s important to perform a few shoulder and back stretches too.
Soak in Hot Water
Everybody wishes they had a hot tub after those long days of riding, but if you’re not lucky enough to have access to a hot tub, a hot shower or bath will soothe your muscles too. Soak or stand in the hot water for roughly 20 minutes, or apply a heating pad to the sore areas on your body to increase circulation.
Massage Your Muscles
If you’re feeling most of the soreness in your legs, you can probably massage those tight areas yourself. And if your soreness is out of reach, it’s well worth the money to get a professional massage -- just be sure you tell them where you’re sore so they can focus on those areas.
As much as you may want to lay on the couch and drink hot chocolate, when you get home you should pend some time on your feet walking throughout the house, performing a yoga routine, or simply stretching your sore muscles. The more you move now, the better you’ll feel later.
Ice Swollen Areas
When you’re feeling extreme soreness and maybe even swollen knees or pulled muscles, hold an ice pack on the sore area for 15 minutes, then replace the ice pack with a heating pad for 15 minutes. The alternation of cold and heat will increase blood circulation and get the recuperation process in motion.
Ease Back Into Exercise
If you strapped on your snowboard and spent five hours on the mountain after not riding for months, it should not be surprising if your muscles get sore. Next time you hit the slopes, ease into longer durations of riding by starting with just a couple of hours or half days. Move onto full days when your muscles feel adapted to the shorter sessions.