Six Nutrition Tips for a Day on the Slopes
The ideas and suggestions written below are provided for general educational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice or care. The contents of this article are not intended to make health or nutrition claims about our products. Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified health provider before beginning any physical fitness or health and nutrition related activity.
Skiing and snowboarding are some of the best things about winter. There’s nothing like heading to the mountains when they’re covered with fresh powder and tearing up the slopes on a beautiful day.
But while you pack your skis, board, helmet, and boots for your trip, remember to also bring the food you’ll need for the perfect day of snow. Give your body the fuel it needs to perform its best from the first run to the last.
We don’t mean a cup of coffee or energy drink; we mean the right nutrition to help your body handle hours of skiing and snowboarding. Read on for our powerful, easy-to-follow tips for great rides and great fun.
Eat a healthy, satisfying breakfast
Fuel yourself before the day begins. Start your morning with a hearty breakfast with a combination of complex carbohydrates, protein, and fat. This way, you’ll give your body consistent energy and help prevent hunger pangs as you go through your first few runs.
For example, eat a big bowl of oatmeal (1 to 2 cups) topped with nuts and seeds (one tablespoon) and Greek yogurt (1/2 cup).
Don’t prioritize meal times
Most people schedule their meals in advance — i.e. lunch from 12:30 – 1:30pm — and ski and snowboard around those times. We recommend, however, you do the opposite: Make skiing and snowboarding the centerpiece of your day and eat when you feel like having an energy boost.
It creates a mindset where you eat to fuel your body for your sport instead of prioritizing, say, a Bloody Mary. It also motivates you to make better food and drink choices because you’ll see your nutrition as something that energizes and supports you.
It’s a small shift in priorities, but it can make all the difference.
Getting the right amount of fluids makes a huge difference in your energy level on the slopes — it lets your muscles work at their full potential and even helps your mind stay focused and alert. But if there’s no water fountain close by, you could go a long time without a sip. Even a little dehydration can sabotage your physical and mental ability.
For a great, easy-to-carry option, bring an insulated hydration pack with you as you ski or snowboard. (The insulation prevents water from freezing.)
Push back your lunch
Instead of going from breakfast to lunch without eating anything, have 2 – 3 small, nutritious snacks to keep your energy high and avoid hunger. This also helps you delay your appetite so you can postpone your lunch — now you can enjoy shorter lift lines while everyone else is at the restaurants.
For easy-to-pack and quick snacks that pack a lot of energy, keep some almonds, CLIF Bars, or dried fruit in your pocket.
Get a little more sugar in the afternoon
Sugar?! (Yes, sugar.) Even with great hydration and nutritious snacks, a little sweetness in the afternoon can go a long way to give your muscles and mind a quick surge of energy so you can finish your day strong. Some of the snack options above contain sugar.
However, for those long days on the mountain, quickly digested, small, sugary sports nutrition foods like CLIF® BLOKS™ Energy Chews or gels can help to delay your muscle fatigue in the afternoon.
Remember your recovery
After you've finished a long, fun, and tiring day on the slopes, it’s time for the après ski! But to repair your body (or have a few more days in a row of skiing), get good recovery foods after you’re done.
Thankfully, this doesn’t have to be difficult. As long as you eat a combination of carbs (like pasta or bread), protein (like fish, cheese, or beef), and vegetables, your body will thank you. In this way, even a cheeseburger and a side of veggies counts as a helpful recovery meal.
- Sport nutrition: an introduction to energy production and performance; Asker E. Jeukendrup, Michael Gleeson Human Kinetics, 2004.
- American College of Sports Med, American Dietetic Assoc., Dietitians of Canada: Nutrition & Athletic Performance Joint Position Statement: Med Sci Sports & Exerc 2009; 709-731.
- Fueling athletes with carbs, 27th SCAN Symposium Chicago, March 11-13 2011 Burke
- Wong, S. H. S., Sun, F.-H., Huang, W. Y. J., & Chen, Y.-J. (2014). Effects of Beverages with Variable Nutrients on Rehydration and Cognitive Function. International Journal of Sports Medicine.