Eating well on the mountain during the snow season can greatly impact energy levels and how much you get out of your training. With some smart planning, you can also reduce your risk of injury and maximise recovery for successful back-to-back days on snow.
Below we share our top five tips that can help guide skiers and snowboarders in packing for a day on snow.
1. Pack your backpack the night before
In the morning it can be a scramble to get ready so getting food organised the night before is a good strategy to assist time management. That way, in the morning you can focus on eating a substantial, nutrient-dense breakfast to fuel your time on snow. If you are with a team, setting a culture of preparing together the night before works well and you can always bulk buy or bake some snacks which are a better budget option.
2. Pack some quick release fueling options
Your muscles can work for about ninety minutes under a moderate intensity until they run out of carbohydrates (aka “carbs”). As carbs are your premium and preferred fuel during exercise, topping up is crucial if you are looking for a competitive edge to support performance. To ensure you are well-fuelled for the high-intensity blocks in your day, take some easy-to-digest carbohydrate-rich snacks like energy balls or bars, dried fruit (mango, apricot, apple, sultanas), or white wraps rolled and filled with jam or honey. If you are going to be on snow for hours, it is also a good idea to take something a bit more filling. See tip 4 below.
3. Pack water or sports drink
Just because it is cold, this does not mean that you won’t sweat on the slopes. A mere 2% loss of fluid from your body weight can greatly impact both physical and cognitive performance. Make sure to take fluids with you on the hill and to sip intermittently throughout training. Having a plan to sip at the bottom of each run can be a good idea. If you prefer a warmer drink, consider taking hot chocolate or tea in a thermos.
4. Plan your lunch
Options on snow at the resorts can be very expensive, less nutritious, and can involve long queues. Getting ahead of the game with a balanced lunch, made up of some carbohydrates, protein and quality veggies, will help you to train well into the afternoon or can act as a recovery meal. Some of our top suggestions are grainy wraps filled with lean meat and salad wrapped in aluminium foil, or hot meals that can be packed in a thermos and help warm the body up (leftover curry, soup, stir fry or fried rice).
5. Recover smartly
At the end of a big day on snow (and likely more time on-snow in the coming days), it is important that you also prioritise your recovery nutrition. Recovering well involves rehydrating with fluids, refuelling with quality carbohydrates and repairing with adequate protein. On the run? An easy milk-based drink like chocolate milk or a squeezy yoghurt can help kick start the recovery process before your next main meal.
With these five tips for skiers and snowboarders, you can equip yourself for successful nutrition on the snow.
Holly Edstein, NSWIS