Can You Lose Weight Skiing?

Skiing on a hill
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Many skiers wonder if their weekend ski trips will help them lose weight. Like any sport, skiing does burn calories. You are, of course, expending energy, and any sport that gets your heart rate will help burn fat; however, there are some things to keep in mind. Here are some tips to consider when determining if skiing will be an effective weight loss tool for you.

How to Lose Weight Skiing

  • Cross country skiing burns more calories than downhill skiing, as cross country skiing requires you to get up the hills yourself, whereas in downhill skiing a chair lift whisks you up. If losing weight is your focus, then you may want to pursue nordic skiing as opposed to alpine. Here's how to get started cross country skiing.
  • Some experts suggest that cold temperatures will have an effect on weight loss. Of course, you should bundle up to stay safe and comfortable, but keep in mind that when your body is working against freezing temperatures, you may be burning some extra calories.
  • A long day of skiing in high altitude will leave you dehydrated if you don't replenish fluids. While you may experience a loss in water weight, it's highly important that you keep hydrated while on the slopes in order to stay energized and alert.
  • The harder you ski, the more calories you'll burn. If you're just cruising the blues without engaging your core or your thighs, you probably won't be expending many calories. Tackling those steep trails revs up your heart rate and works your muscles, which is key in burning fat. However, don't push yourself. Only ski on trails that match your ability. Remember, an injury will knock you out for the whole season, in which case you won't be losing any weight at all.
  • When you're at a resort, it is very important to try to eat healthy if you are trying to lose weight. The typical fare found in a ski resort cafeteria—like greasy burgers, french fries, big sodas, and beers—will absolutely replace any of the calories you might have burned while on the slopes. If losing weight is your goal, then the most important advice for you is to intake less calories than you are burning, which means you have to be especially conscious as to what you're eating while you're skiing. 
  • At the same time, you definitely shouldn't starve yourself while you're on the mountain. Just be smart about your dieting practices. You can stay healthy and save money by bringing your own food. What are some good options? Our favorites include wholesome, sustaining snacks: fruits like bananas and apples, vegetables like avocados and carrots, as well as options like almonds, cashews, dates, and high-protein granola bars.
  • There are little ways you can burn more calories while you're on the slopes. Always choose action over laziness! For example, rather than just cruising with minimal movement, focus on making dynamic and engaged turns, tightening your core, flexing your legs, and using your poles. If you find yourself in an area where you have an option to use a rope tow or skate up the hill, opt to skate up the hill! Or, when you're on a flat, really try to amp up your energy by skating on your skis to gain momentum. You can also think about where you park. We all know carrying skis and boots can be a pain, but it's also a calorie-burning pain, so if you end up with a spot far away from the lift... at least know you're getting a bit of a work out! After all, all those little things do add up, as long as you're not replacing the calories burned with unhealthy ski resort food.