Today’s reader question:
Do you have any tips to keep your knees and ankles from wearing down a lot as the season progresses? By February, my knees take impacts from jumping and dropping a lot harder.
Sure. The trick to doing long seasons on the snow is that a HUGE part of it is keeping your body healthy, injury free and dealing with all the little aches and pains that crop up over the course of a season.
Doing a 100-200+ day season isn’t so much about just going out there as often as you can and going crazy, but it becomes a lot about pacing yourself and taking care of the ‘wear and tear’ as you go.
Here are some very basic things I do:
1) Exercise (legs as well)
You don’t have to exercise, but it really does help a ton with reducing the amount of wear and tear you take over each season.
Strong muscles help absorb and control the impacts on your body as you snowboard, and that reduces the wear on your joints and body over the course of a season.
I know it sucks (especially leg exercises after a long day on the hill), but it’s just something that has to be done, especially if you’re thinking about prolonging your ability to keep snowboarding.
2) Rest days are a must
Even though I work from home and have the ability to snowboard every day, I rarely do that for an extended period of time. You have to take days off when your body is sore, otherwise you may find all those aches and pains keep building up and don’t have enough time to recover.
Typically for me I’ll take about 1-2 days off per week, although sometimes if the conditions are good I’ll still go up on a rest day and just cruise around on the hill.
The only exception to this is if it’s some freak period in Whistler where we’ve been getting powder every day for 2 weeks… but that doesn’t happen too often (sadly).
You have to take rest days off if you want to survive a full season otherwise all the impacts and small injuries/aches start to really add up.
I also take some basic supplements to help my body repair and recover quickly. I’m not a fan of most supplements since a lot of them are pretty bad for your body, but there are 2 supplements I always take during the season that are actually very beneficial for you:
- Protein powder
Both of these basically help with my muscle recovery/muscle building. You can substitute these supplements with a diet high in things like chicken or black beans, but personally I find it hard to eat enough protein through normal food without the help of supplements, especially during the season when I’m burning a ton of energy on the hill.
One warning: If you do choose to try these supplements, just make sure the protein powder you’re buying isn’t the type you get from GNC or some fitness shop.
A lot of fitness shop protein powders have a ton of chemicals that are really bad for you, so if you choose to go protein powder I highly recommend going with an organic brand that doesn’t add tons of nasty junk to their supplement.
One more thing…
So besides those 3 things the other thing I highly recommend is pacing your riding. I know that everyone wants to progress fast and improve, but you have to take things step by step and not take stupid risks.
Take calculated risks and build up to bigger risks step-by-step because getting injured will slow down your riding more than if you just paced yourself and took smart, calculated risks.
Things like getting the wrong speed on a jump because you didn’t want to do a warm up lap or didn’t spend some time making sure you knew the right speed are huge factors when it comes to preserving your knees and ankles.
Basically just ride smart. When you’re doing entire seasons on the snow you have the time to be intelligent about the risks you take and build up to the bigger risks step-by-step.
It’s unlikely that you’ll be able to snowboard forever without getting injured or getting aches and pains, but you can limit your injuries by pacing your riding and taking care of your body/riding schedule.
Hope that answers your question!