Off Season Training and Conditioning for Sledders

Home fitness Off Season Training and Conditioning for Sledders

Thursday, April 28, 2016 – 00:00

As snowmobiling season in Valemount draws to a close, one may find themselves wondering what they’re going to do until next winter. You may be thinking that this is your chance to hang out, fish, and have a few cold ones. That may be; however, being an athletic and aggressive rider can and should be a year-round task.

Just because you’re putting your sled into storage, doesn’t mean you get to slack off. Summer is a great time to maintain your peak physical condition, so that you can go right back into your energetic style of riding right off the bat.

Off-season training and conditioning means heading into the next season at your maximum ability, or at least pretty close to it.

Curtis Pawliuk, owner and operator of Frozen Pirate Snow Services and avid snowmobiler, shares some recommendations for those looking to stay in shape during the off-season below:

1. Take time off when you need to, either to prevent injury in the first place or to keep an injury from worsening.

2. Fix any trouble areas that have been aggravating you, either with massage therapy or physiotherapy.

3. Stay active – you can’t expect to sit around all summer and suddenly start working out in the fall to be ready to ride.

4. Incorporate mountain biking or other outdoor sports into your fitness repertoire to keep your muscles engaged and your cardio on point.

5. Strength train with weights, stretch out any problem areas, and maintain your cardio by running, biking, hiking, or HIIT circuit training.

According to Pawliuk, there aren’t many actual injuries that happen to out-of-shape riders, but due to the high mountain elevation here, you can tell right away who has been maintaining their cardiovascular endurance and who has not.

The more common injuries come with time, due to repetitive wear and tear, specifically the shoulders and elbows. This is where a full-body weight-training regime comes into play. Also, a strong back and core are essential to active snowmobiling.

Valemount’s resident Registered Massage Therapist (RMT), Kathryn Smith, also weighs in on snowmobiling:

“The most common [snowmobiling] injury is muscle strain to the back. This usually happens trying to pull a stuck sled out of deep snow (your back is stooped and it’s hard to lift with the legs and use your core muscles properly). Solution? Don’t be a hero and either spend the time to dig yourself out a path or get a few friends to help you! Also spend time stretching the front of the body (chest and arms) to increase blood flow and prevent numbness and tingling in the hands.”

Pawliuk is also the General Manager of VARDA, the Valemount and Area Recreation Development Association, which is a non-profit that seeks to manage and grow our recreational areas in a sustainable and community-driven way.

If you’re interested in adding mountain biking or hiking to your list of summer fitness activities, head over to to learn more about the trails and other amenities offered in our backyard!

Leave a comment