We've been lucky enough to partner with Rhys Artridge who runs Snow Performance in Melbourne's Richmond. He coaches snow sport athletes, as well as regular humans, in strength and conditioning training to excel in snow sports and other areas of exercise. With a background as a ski racer and a Masters Degree in Exercise Science (Strength and Conditioning), Rhys is the perfect person to see to get the most out of your next ski trip, injury prevention, rehab or if you just want to improve your ski performance. We had a chat to Rhys about what he does, why and how.
Rhys assessing an athletes fitness
What do you do at Snow Performance?
I run strength and conditioning programs specifically designed for ski and snowboard athletes. I work with athletes from as early as 10 years old to mature semi-professional athletes. I also do work with recreational skiers wanting to get the most out of their ski holidays.
What's the biggest myth about getting ski fit?
A common misconception about physical preparation for skiing is the excessive use of balance exercises. Balance should not be confused with stability. Balance is a fundamental skill that is learnt prior to puberty and cannot be significantly altered after this period of development. Balance training as an adult is task specific, meaning balancing on a Swiss ball will make you better at balancing on a Swiss ball and will not transfer to sport performance. Stability, however, is when the muscles around a joint are working together to make a strong structure capable of withstanding high force.
What's your favourite exercise for fit people getting ready for the big Northern ski trip?
If you could only do one exercise it would have to be the back squat. Combining this with a method known as accommodating resistance, we attach a big rubber band from the floor to the bar on each side so it sucks the athletes straight back down when they reach the top. This emulates the beginning of the turn where we have to resist the most force.
Rhys and some of his athletes.
What is your favourite part of the job?
I love every aspect of my job but seeing the smile on an athlete's face when they have made significant improvement in their fitness is truly rewarding, particularly when it is combined with a successful racing season.
What is your favourite ski resort?
As a young ski racer in my late teens and early 20’s most of the resorts I went to I only skied on one pitch - the race hill. After racing, I worked as a ski technician at Mt Panorama, Canada and got to go on a staff trip to kicking horse. I ditched the race skis for some all mountain skis and had an absolute blast!
You can book in with Rhys for a fitness assessment and personalised program here.