It’s a Tuesday night in July and it’s been another scorching day in the capital. Most people would spend an evening like this in a beer garden in their flip flops, but as skiers who believe winter is only ever a couple of months away my friend Alex and I plan to spend our evening skiing.
That’s because this summer Fulham-based ski centre Chel-Ski, just off the King’s Road, is encouraging skiers of all abilities to come and try its indoor slope with a twist, at its new Fit-Ski classes. At Chel-Ski there’s not an ounce of snow in sight. Instead the slope, which moves under skis like a giant sloping treadmill, is made of astroturf-like material, sprayed with water to give it grip.
Our instructor Dan Crawford greets us and as we trade sandals (it’s July remember) for trainers he asks our ski boot size and skiing ability so we can be set up with ski equipment. The Fit-Ski class is split into two parts, off-slope fitness, hence the need for trainers, and then skiing on the slope. Dan is a fully qualified personal trainer and ski instructor, and during the session he’s going to use both his skill sets, putting us through our paces both on and off the slope.
The session starts with a warm up and a 20-minutes of dry-land training, focusing on the muscle groups that we’ll use in the mountains next winter. Squats are followed by thrusters to work our legs, which are then immediately followed by core exercises such as twists and glute bridge raises. Dan explains the exercise plan is specifically tailored to the strength and movements needed on the slopes, and says regular classes would put any skier in great shape ahead of next winter. The Fit-Ski class requires no previous skiing experience so is suitable for all abilities and anyone who wants to get fit for the winter season ahead.
Ski fitness exercise: strengthen your glutes
There’s no time to catch our breath – immediately after the last exercise it’s on with the ski boots and time to jump onto the slope. “This will be the easy bit,” we tell ourselves. We spoke too soon.
After the high-intensity muscle workout beforehand and despite being advanced skiers we both find it tough to hold a beginner-level snowplough, wobbling on shaky legs as the slope begins to move beneath us. At our ski level it seems counter-intuitive to be doing a snowplough lesson, but as we soon find out, after…