Ski Bum Reviews guide on what to eat and drink for a day on the slopes
By Emily Crofton
Nothing quite beats waking up on a powder day. Feeling like a kid on Christmas morning, with excitement and anticipation bursting at the seams, you can’t wait to get to the mountain, load the chair, and get first tracks. With only one thing on your mind, you envision the day ahead-endless pow turns, face shots right and left, epic lines that only dreams are made of. As skiers, we care about one thing and one thing only: skiing powder. While this obsessive drive is what makes skiing so rewarding, it leads many of us to make questionable choices when it comes to what we eat or drink in anticipation of the day ahead. While it can be easy to let nutrition fall to the wayside, it is essential that we fuel our bodies properly as it ultimately determines our performance out on the slopes.
While skiing is a fun and active way to enjoy the outdoors, it is also a full-body workout that requires the use of many major muscle groups. As an aerobic endurance activity, not only does skiing exercise the heart and lungs, but a day on the mountain can burn up to 3,000 calories! It also requires the use of both your upper and lower body, as well as your core, in order to maintain balance and coordination. In addition to the physical requirements, you are at the whim of Mother Nature when skiing, exposed to high altitudes, sun, and various other elements. Taking all of this into consideration, it is crucial to make the right choices when it comes to nutrition in order to improve your skillset, avoid injury, and strengthen your muscles and overall fitness. In order to properly prepare for your day on the mountain, we have shared some helpful nutrition tips for all of you skiers out there.
First and foremost, making sure to hydrate leading up to and throughout a ski day is extremely important. Since you are exercising at a higher altitude, your risk for dehydration is much greater. Your body loses water through respiration at a high altitude twice as fast as it does at sea level. As a result of dryer air and more rapid breathing, your body is at a much higher risk of losing bodily fluids. In addition to the physical demands of the sport, properly hydrating is a top priority both the night before and intermittently throughout the day. Wearing a hydration pack or carrying a soft flask for water can be a great way to stay on top of hydration.
Bonus Tip: Electrolytes significantly assist your body with water retention. Add an electrolyte tablet, like Nuun or GU, to your water bottle for extra hydration!
In addition to proper hydration, it’s highly recommended that you jumpstart your healthy eating choices for the day ahead with a nutritious dinner. While you may not think that your meals leading up to your ski day matter, they have a lasting affect on your joints, muscles, and overall level of energy. Rather than loading up on carbs, focu on foods that are high in protein, antioxidants, and omega-3 fats. Since skiing activates many muscle groups that you may not normally use, your body is prone to fatigue, muscle soreness, and inflammation. Rather than relying on advil, get ahead of it by eating foods that will combat inflammation, such as leafy greens, berries, whole grains, lean protein, and healthful fats. Not only will this diet help to reduce an inflammatory reaction, but it will also improve joint health and muscle fatigue. Be sure to eat on the earlier side to let your body get a good night’s sleep!
Recommended Dinner Choices: Salmon, Spinach, Broccoli, Quinoa, Berries
We’re all familiar with the saying “breakfast is the most important meal of the day”, right? Well, this statement couldn’t be more relevant in the world of skiing. Fueling your body with a balanced, nutritious breakfast before a big day on the mountain is the smartest choice you can make. A healthy breakfast can supply your body with the nutrients it needs to support physical activity. In order to provide the body with the most effective energy source, it’s important to focus on consuming protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats. Since skiing requires a high level of physical exertion and significantly increases your metabolic rate, slowing down the release of energy will allow you to ski from bell to bell. Focus on incorporating foods that are high in protein, low in sugar, and contain a slow-burning carbohydrate source.
Recommended Breakfast Choices: Greek yogurt with granola, whole grain toast with avocado and eggs, oatmeal with honey, breakfast burrito.
We’ve all been on the chairlift when our stomach starts to grumble. While it can be tough to take a break, it’s crucial to sustain your energy in order to keep skiing. Rather than relying on resort food, which can be expensive and indulgent, plan ahead by packing snacks in your pocket or backpack. It’s important to include both fast carbs and slow burning carbs for the sake of preserving energy, as well as accessing quick energy bursts. Avoid snacks that are high in refined sugars, fried food, or heavy carbs. We all want to ski from bell to bell so why not plan ahead and set yourself up for success!
Recommended Snacks: Nuts, Trail mix, Energy Bars, Dried fruit, Whole Wheat crackers
Last but not least, making sure to fuel yourself mid-day with a healthy lunch is a top priority. While it may be tempting to treat yourself to a burger and fries, this type of food will weigh you down and leave you feeling lethargic. If you’re planning on skiing in the afternoon, focus on eating a nutritious, light lunch that is packed with protein, slow burning carbs and fiber. Whether you’re taking some time to rejuvenate and rehydrate in the lodge or eating on the go,
be sure to make smart choices for lunch. By incorporating carbohydrates with protein, you’re able to replace what you lost throughout your morning and rebuild and repair muscles for the afternoon.
Recommended Lunch Choices: Tuna wrap, Peanut Butter sandwich, Veggie Chili, Salmon Salad
Nutrition is key when it comes to making the most out of a day on the mountain. What we fuel our bodies with ultimately determines our ability to sustain the level of energy and stamina required to ski from bell to bell. While it’s easy to get swept up in the powder craze, by prioritizing your nutritional habits, your body will feel stronger and healthier, giving you the skills and confidence to perform at your best