By Caroline Samson, Special Contributor and Gendron Travel Group Leader

Planning a ski trip is always exciting. Once the Holiday is booked, we monitor the weather, study trail maps, download all applications related to the station and anticipate challenges. And we already see ourselves on a terrace, raising a glass after a beautiful day in the snow. In addition to preparing for a few days of happiness on the slopes, more down-to-earth aspects must be seen to also. Here are a few things to consider when organizing your next ski trip:

  • If you have the time (and motivation) to do so, prepare yourself physically to ski several days in a row. It may mean spending some time at the gym doing wieghts and cardio, walking and using the stairs, doing “the chair” on the wall a few minutes every day… You may have your own training plan. In any case, remember that any exercice is beneficial.
  • That being said, if you are more or less fit and plan to ski for six or seven days in a row, we would recommend skiing two days back to back before you leave on your trip. Also, listen to yourself the first few days. We often see clients who find the third afternoon rather difficult. Remember it doesn’t do any good to push too fast. You won’t be able to appreciate the rest of your trip.
  • Make sure you have all you need but don’t overpack and be sure to be able to easily carry around all your belongings. Airlines charge more and more for each bag and for excess weight.  Suitcases on wheels make it easier to move around the airport and hotel with all of your stuff.
  • If you are heading to high peaks, allow clothing for varying temperatures. I am a supporter of multilayering and of coats and pants with side zippers. At some large stations, you can have mild températures in the valley and chilly and windy ones at the top. It’s nice to be able to add or remove a layer.
  • If you have replacement goggle lenses for sunny days,  bring them with you! In big bowls, sunny days are very sunny and white days are… very white.
  • You plan to inaugurate your brand new boots on a trip? Personally I wouldn’t do it. It’s best to have broken them in before hand, being sure they’re a good fit. Six or seven days skiing in ill fitted boots will turn your vacation sour.
  • Given the cost of checked baggage and all the options available to you, it is relevant to consider renting skis on site. It may be less complicated and not that much more expensive.
  • If you have a knee brace or some other kind of brace, bring it with you on the plane. if your baggage is temporarely lost, you can find skis, boots and clothing but a brace fitted for your needs, is unlikely.
  • Speaking of medical stuff, the use of Whirlpool can be very refreshing on a ski trip. We suggest you bring your swimsuit. Doing stretches in the evening and using Myoflex can also help you recover more quickly.
  • Check your insurance coverage. Many policies do not cover heli-skiing or backcountry skiing accidents. Make sure you are insured or subscribe to a special police.
  • If your budget allows, plan a special event during yourtrip: dinner at the top of the mountain, a guided day in the backcountry a snowmobile outing, a “Steep and Deep” ski lesson, a “first track/fresh track breakfast, etc.  Big resorts offer a variety of activities that will add a little something to your trip. Make some memories!
  • It can be nice to be on site during a skiing event. For exemple, the Swatch Freeride World Tour, held in revelstoke in January brings lots of atmosphere but not necessarily more trafic on the slopes. This is an opportunity to see top guns tackle daunting mountain flanks. So, check out what’s held during your stay at the resort where you go.
  • Regarding heli-skiing, more and more heli-skiing operators require to carry an avalanche safety bag. Know that it is not much more heavier than a regular backpack and it is less uncomfortable than you might think.


Here are some things to remember at destination: 

  • When skiing at high altitude while not being used to it, take the first day to get acclimated. Drink more water (and ideally less alcohol) and take the time to breathe.
  • In large stations, bowls and less traveled glades, it’s always safer to be three or more. Watch out for safety instructions.
  • Bring treats! When the snow is good and the restaurants are far away, it’s good to have something to eat and thus delaying mealtime.
  • If you try heli-skiing, remember that take-off and landings, when you are around the helicopter, mean lots of wind. It is always best to have something to cover your neck and to keep your goggles on.



Tips from Karine Larose, Kinesiologist and Communications Director at Nautilus Plus

Even if you are a good skier or snowboarder and have flawless technique, physical preparation is sure to facilitate your season and maximize your performance. In addition, good preparatory fitness decreases the risk of injury so you can make the most of your season, no matter the conditions. And, when planning a skiing or snowboarding trip, physical preparation is all the more important because slopes may be very different from those in Québec. Be ready to face any situations!

Qualities to develop for an efficient skier or snowboarder
When getting ready for sports such as skiing and Snowboarding it is important to develop muscle strength, power, agility, balance and endurance. All these qualities wil will be worked on through the implementation of different types of gym exercices.

Balance and stability
The arrival of parabolic skis requires skiers to make several quick lateral movements, which generates a lot of stress in the knee. For snowboarders, there is no need to tell you that the concept of balance is of utmost importance. To reduce the risk of injury, we must strengthen the muscles surrounding the knee joint. Performing balance exercises increases the strength and stability of the joint, which prevents injury (see Exercise 1: Squat on BOSU).

Strength, coordination, agility and power
As the body is constantly called upon to readjust during descents, conduting exercices using several muscles simultaneously is recommended. So rather than perform exercises where the muscles are stressed in isolation, opt for exercises that require the muscles to coordinate and respond quickly. Strength, combined with better muscle coordination make for smoother descents. (see Exercise 2, which combines strength, coordination, agility and power).

Moreover, Snowboarding and skiing are both reaction sports, that is to say that there is an action followed by a reaction. During the action phase you need to be strong and agile. To do this, exercices like jumps and leaps develop rythm, weight transfer and coordination. Better agility and power mean better control of your speed and trajectory (see Exercise 2: simultaneous jumps on platforms).

Finally, endurance training reduces the sensation of muscle fatigue due to long runs or cumulative days of skiing. Recovery will also be easier, allowing you to better enjoy every day without experiencing premature fatigue (See Exercixe 3, alterning two movements: Chair and side jump). And, of course, taking advantage of  the expertise of a personal trainer will garantee a preparedness program tailored to your fitness and your goals. Whether you are a skier or snowboarder, the specialist will help you develop muscle skills necessary so you can take advantage of each run!


Exercice 1 
Squat on BOSU
Stand balanced on the flat part of the BOSU, place your hands in front of you. Squat to form a 90 degrees angle with your knees. Slowly get back up to your initial position. repeat 15 times. Take 30-60 seconds to rest and repeat the series a secondtime,then a third..

Exercice 2 
Simultaneous jumps on platforms
Place one foot on the platform and slightly bend your knees. Jump laterally (put power behind it) landing on both feet on the other side of the platform. Jumps again immediately with both feet, reaching the second Platform. jump over the second platform. Repeat without stoping for 30 to 45 seconds. Rest for 60 seconds and repeat twice for a total of three sequences.

Exercice 3
Chair on the wall and side jumps
Chair on the wall: Support your back with the wall, bending your knees to a 90-degree angle. Thights should be parallel to the ground. Hold for 30 seconds.
Lateral jump: Immediately after doing the chair, jump on one foot  while alternating your feet 20 times.  Be sure to bend at the knee to properly absorb ground impact with every landing. Avoid rounding your back. Rest for 30-60  seconds. Repeat the whole proccess twice for a total of three times.