Be happy, ski more
find your holiday
live chat
21 Mar, 2013

How to soothe post-ski muscle soreness

Terrace Jacuzzi in the snow - Aquensis Grand Tourmalet

If you are heading off for a quick ski break this season, it is a good idea to whip your body into shape before you go.

But if you have no time to hit the gym before you board the coach or aeroplane to the slopes, you are better off minimising any damage your body might sustain from skiing or snowboarding.

Richard Mills, a personal trainer and sports therapist at Advance Gym, told Metro that pulled muscles and groin strains are two of the most common injuries snow sports fans pick up on the piste.

He pointed out that as with any other physical activity, a momentary lapse in concentration or a competitive race against friends can quickly result in injuries and pain.

"Muscle soreness, tears and strains can happen at any time," he said.

"Here are a few tips to get you back on the slopes as soon as possible. Initially, use an ice pack or frozen peas to minimise swelling to the area, then try contrast bathing: shower for one to two minutes in hot water, followed by ten to 30 seconds under cold water for three sets. This technique encourages the flow of waste products out of the area while delivering vital nutrients to the muscles."

In the first 48 hours after your collision or injury, try an ice massage on your sore parts. Fill a plastic cup with water and stick it in the freezer to solidify. Once it has turned to ice you can roll it over your painful muscles and reduce discomfort.

After a couple of days of rest, you can increase blood flow to the muscles by participating in "steady mobility", such as some light walking. "Follow that with some steady stretching on the area if recovery is progressing well. Remember, if you fail to prepare, then you should prepare to fail," added Mr Mills.

Livestrong.com also suggests taking a long dip in a hot tub if you are lucky enough to have one in your accommodation. This does wonder in alleviating muscle strain and can increase mobility in sore arms and legs if your soreness is the result of a few hours out in below-freezing temperatures.

"The heat, along with the massaging actions of the jets, increases blood circulation, which in turn relaxes your muscles," the news source noted. "Hot tubs also have a social element that may serve as a psychological relief. Talking and joking with a group of friends may take your mind off your muscular strain."

It is, however, not advisable to go in a hot tub if you are pregnant or have high blood pressure.

If you don't have access to a hot tub, see if your ski resort has a resident sports masseuse who can dig deep into your sore muscles with their fingertips and free up those knotted bits. "Alleviating tight, overworked muscle groups relax your body and may even improve technique and prevent injuries," said the site. "Sports massage therapists use stroking, kneading and friction techniques to relieve post-skiing muscle soreness."

While most of us will want to have as much time on the slopes as possible during our ski trip, if you sustain an injury it really is best to leave off the physical exertion. Having a day of rest can leave you stronger and more able to take on the black runs once you're back to full health, so see what your resort has to offer away from the piste.

Posted by Bill Sperry

To find out more about a Ski Weekends holiday for this season, call one of our ski experts on 023 8020 6971 or email sales@skiweekends.com