As the days get shorter and the thick socks make an appearance, it’s time to look forward to the best part of winter: snow sports.

Whether you’re a beginner or a budding athlete, Australian Paralympic Winter Head Coach Steve Graham has some simple exercises to get you in shape for the snow.

Try and complete these exercises with 4-8 repetitions with 3-5 sets. 

1. Strength

A great way of building basic strength is the squat. Stand with your feet shoulder width or slightly wider apart, and your hands behind your head. Lower your hips to the ground as if to sit onto a very low stool, while trying to keep your heels on the ground. While maintaining an upright posture, push through heels to return to a standing position.

2. Balance

Try and stand on one leg, on a pillow, for as long as you can. Then change legs. It might sound a bit silly but this exercise is great for balance. Before you start, make sure you’re in a safe environment with padding and supervision. 

3. Speed 

Try some jump squats. Starting from a low squat position, put your hands on your hips and jump up as fast and high as possible. This exercise helps to produce force quickly. Skiers need to quickly adapt to their skiing environment and apply force to the ski at different rates.

4. Footwork

This exercise is especially important for training yourself to quickly change the direction of your feet while maintaining control of the rest of the body.

Using masking tape, mark out a ‘ladder’ on the floor with 40x50cm squares.

With both legs hop in and out of the boxes in a diagonal fashion as quickly as possible. There are many ways to progress this by only using one leg to hop on and/or including additional tasks as well. Be creative! 

5. Agility

Skiers need to pressure the outside ski to make a turn. Pressuring the ski is done by applying force through the outside leg, which can be trained with this exercise.

Stand in a normal tall stance with hands behind the head and elbows out to the side. Lift one leg up, step out sideways and bend the leg to lower the hips to that side while keeping the other leg straight, toes pointing forwards. Maintain upright posture and push with outside leg to return to standing position. Repeat on other side.