How Many Calories Are Burned Skiing


Skiing is without a doubt one of the most fun winter activities, but that is just the tip of the iceberg of all the positive things it brings to you and your body. As you create cool and thrilling memories and capture unforgettable moments using your camera, you’ll be also performing skiing muscle workouts.

In this article, we’ll show you what muscles are mostly used for skiing, and we’ll also talk about the number of calories burned skiing to give you one more reason to pack your stuff and hit the nearest mountain as soon as the snow – whether real or artificial – falls.

Number Of Calories Burned Skiing

The simplest answer is that most often a skier will lose about 400 calories per hour in downhill skiing and about 1.000 calories per hour in cross-country and other forms of uphill skiing, which puts skiing in range of cycling or rowing. But, it is not so simple in practice, because multiple different things affect how many calories you burn:

  • Your weight
  • Your height
  • Your overall size
  • Muscle to fat ratio
  • Skiing technique and intensity
  • Gender

The logic is simple – newer and less experienced skiers will burn more calories in less time on track because of their lack of efficiency in movement. On the other hand, more experienced skiers will burn fewer calories on the same distance thanks to the fact that flawless ski movements, maneuvers, and turns require less energy.

Muscles Mostly Used When Skiing

What makes skiing such a great exercise is the fact that it uses all of your body muscles, with the only question being which ones are used at a specific moment. The main muscles used for skiing, and the most important ones, are those from the lower part of the body. Your core abdominal muscles act as stabilizers, your bottom, and thigh’s gluteus maximus has the purpose of supporting the leg movement, while quadriceps help by extending your knees and flexing your hip, and lastly, the hamstring is used to move your knee up or down with foot and ankle muscles serve by allowing you to edge on your skis as you go down.

That doesn’t mean your upper part of the body is useless because skiing uses every muscle you have at some point, especially if decide to try out backcountry or cross country skiing or other similar activity where you won’t be going only down but also uphill at some point.  And remember, if you want to go down again, you’ll have to climb up.

How Does Your Body Work As You Ski?

Now you know that every muscle you have is being used at some point of your time on the track, here is how it actually works by each of the muscles group individually:

Abs And Core Muscles

Abs and core muscles serve to stabilize you and provide you additional balance needed to achieve bigger speed. For this are used the abdominal ad oblique muscles along with the pelvic floor muscles.

Many drills will get your abdominal muscles in the best possible shape, and you won’t need anything but the sheer strength of will to do them:

  • Side plank
  • Plank hold
  • Hip lifts
  • Kneeling extension
  • Raised knee-in

Besides these, you could also include some of the basic ones:

  • Crunches (all types and variations you can think of)
  • V-ups
  • Raised knee-ins
  • Flutter kicks
  • Toe taps
  • Russian twists
  • Bicycle kicks
  • Superman
  • Bird dog

Gluteus Maximus And Medius

Moving down the track means you’ll be in a so-called flexed position while being leaned forward at a certain degree. For this to be possible, you’ll need the help of your butt muscles or more formally said, the gluteus maximus. These muscles are among the strongest muscles in your body and they serve as a stabilizer during your skiing by preventing you from losing balance as you move down the hill.

There are many drills you could do to raise the level to the max and get your glutes and hamstrings ready for all the stress that awaits them:

  • One-leg squats
  • Squat jumps
  • Lunges, both forward and side
  • Single-Leg Deadlift
  • Lateral Band Walk
  • Side-Lying Hip Abduction

Quadriceps Or Front Thigh

Another important muscle in your body is the quadriceps. It is the main force behind keeping your skis together and allowing you to perform all those smooth and cool parallel turns. These drills will help you get your quadriceps in the shape for your next trip:

  • Uphill running. If you don’t have hills nearby, hit the gym and set the running track to a certain degree.
  • Sitting against the wall without a chair for two minutes
  • Ice skating


The strength of the backside of your legs is the crucial part of the skier’s stance, and the stronger your legs are, the easier will be to endure everything on the track.

The following drills will help you make your hamstrings stronger:

  • Deadlifts
  • Lunges
  • Inner thigh squeezes

Ankles And Feet

Even though your feet will be in bindings, you still need them to be both strong and flexible to be able to pull off all the maneuvering. That’s why you should always pay special attention to warming your feet up before you ski.

Many activities will help the development of your ankles:

  • Hiking
  • Yoga
  • Swimming
  • Running

Upper Body

Although not essential, the strength of your arms is helpful in downhill skiing because you’ll move using your ski poles easier and if you have to carry your skis you won’t be tired aftermath, and it is also useful if you fall down a tree well. You could also check our list of best ski exercises.

Why Is Preparation Important?


Skiing is a sport for everyone, though it does require a bit of safety-related preparation. During workouts, you’ll gain strength followed by flexibility, so when the time comes to step on the track, falling will not hurt you. Just in case, see our guide on how to fall on skis.

Can Overweight Or Unfit People Ski?

New technologies and new materials have allowed manufacturers to produce skis, boots, bindings, and other equipment for all heights and weights, so no obstacle will keep a person from stepping on the snow, and the same is with unfit people. The only difference between them is in the fact that overweight or unfit people will have to take more breaks and won’t be able to spend as much time on the snow.

Sore Muscles  – How To Treat Them?

If your muscles start to hurt, there is a way to ease up the pain and relieve it a bit to regain freshness for your next time:

  • Stretch before and stretch after your session. By stretching before you’ll warm up your muscles while stretching after will improve your blood flow and help regenerate your muscles faster.
  • Drink lots of water and don’t skip meals, but also make sure to eat healthy food.
  • Sauna is another way to relax both your mind and your body after a hard day on the slopes.
  • If the pain is sharp, you could use the ice and place it on your muscles, but if it doesn’t help, visit a doctor as soon as possible.

Other Ski Fit Benefits

There are many welfares from getting fit for the ski trip:

  • You’ll have more energy, therefore it will be easier to learn new skills.
  • You won’t be so tired even after a long day on the slopes.
  • You’ll feel better on your skis.
  • You’ll have better control of your skis.
  • The regeneration period will be shorter.
  • Injuring yourself won’t be as easy as it would be otherwise.

 Other Ways To Stay In Shape

Besides regular workouts and drills, there are many other activities you could participate in to stay fit during spring and summer:


Swimming workouts are a great way to improve your overall body fitness level. Here is our list of the best swimming workouts. You could also try some water sport, like water polo, for example.

Ice Hockey

Ice skating is a great way to prepare your lower body for skiing thanks to the usage of the same muscle group.


What makes it great is the fact that it is played exclusively by legs without the usage of hands, and it includes lots of running, which is great for lower body muscles.

Squash, Tennis Or Badminton

Not only you’ll run and increase your stamina, but you’ll also improve your reaction time and focus.

Camping And Hiking

If you love nature, you could combine pleasure with a workout and hike a different trail each weekend.

Bike Riding

If you love to ride a bike, then all you have to do is to keep the tempo up and it will be alright.

Globo Surf Overview

One of the main skiing benefits is the number of calories burned skiing. It is also a great way to put all skiing muscles to good use. This article will help you get ski fit so the next time you hit the slope, you’re more than prepared for anything that could happen. Now learn how to plan a fun ski trip and off you go!

More Snow Reviews:


  1. Calories Used for Skiing,
Globo Surf
My name is David Hamburg. I am an avid water sports fan who enjoys paddle boarding, surfing, scuba diving, and kite surfing. Anything with a board or chance I can get in the water I love! I am such a big fan I decided to start this website to review all my favorite products and some others. Hope you enjoy!