It doesn’t matter if it’s been five, 10, or 20 years since you’ve stood at the top of your favorite Northern Michigan slopes, you’ll be able to take on the hill with help from dramatic improvements in technology that make the sport more fun (and a whole lot easier). That doesn’t mean you can skip your warm up, though. Before you hit the Northern Michigan skiing slopes, do simple stretches to improve your mobility and safety.

“Warm up, Stretch,” along with other tips for getting back on the slopes like “Join a Northern Michigan Skiing Beer League,” were originally published in the January 2016 issue of Traverse, Northern Michigan’s Magazine.

Minimize buzz-kill potential with a series of simple stretches before and after heading onto the ski hill. Damon Whitfield, owner of Harbor Springs Therapy and Wellness, suggests these easy moves to maximize movement and safety.

  1. Make sure your hips and core are warmed up. In order to do this, try some dynamic stretches before skiing: keeping an upright position, with an engaged core, do 10-12 reps of squats (like you’re sitting in a chair). Also, do lunges: front, side, and back, one leg at a time. Keep good posture and a tight core while doing this; it will help your body accept any challenges or shifts in weight on the hill.
  2. To warm up your arms, start with small shoulder circles and move into bigger and bigger circles, both front and back. This will loosen joints in your upper body, and helps with handling your poles.
  3. While on the hill, the biggest thing to keep in mind is an engaged core. Pull in your belly button a little, and tighten your cheeks (the bottom ones, that is). An engaged core is crucial to keeping injuries at bay.
  4. Post skiing, it’s important to take five or ten minutes to stretch. This can be done right on the hill, still in ski boots. Put one leg out, with heel in the snow and knee/back straight, head up. Lean forward for 10 to 15 seconds, just to the point where you feel the stretch. Then, sit cross-legged, pull your knee toward your opposite shoulder, and stretch for 10 to 15 seconds, four or five times (this stretches the backside of your hip). You can also put both feet on the ground, cross your arms, and do a gentle rotation left, then right, just to the point of feeling the stretch. This will help your spine.

For more tips, contact Whitfield, 231.838.2087 or email

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Photo(s) by Todd Zawistowski