By: Cool J
LL and I spent 3 full days on the mountains of Big Sky, Montana. It was a lot of fun, but also definitely a “fresh new” fitness endeavor.
We both agreed that on an easy run, it’s more physically challenging (and in our opinion, you burn more calories) when you are a beginner. LL took a few semi-private lessons with a professional to work on her skills. I’m sure the repetition of the drills was quite the leg workout, whereas if a more experienced skier or snowboarder hits the same trail, it may not be as challenging, (since you’re not working quite as hard to stay upright!)
At the same time, a large resort like Big Sky allows a more experienced skier or rider the opportunity to push himself or herself on the vast array of higher intensity runs. I think we all were pretty exhausted by the end of each day. And we definitely enjoyed the hot tub afterwards!
According to MayoClinic.com and Fitday.com, moderate-intensity downhill skiing burns 314 calories per hour if you weigh in at 160 pounds, and 391 per hour if you weigh 200 pounds. Higher intensity skiing (i.e., beginners, competitive racers, skiing moguls) can burn 450-600 calories/hr (for an adult weighing 165). Downhill skiing is a power sport consisting of short, strong effects followed by periods of rest, which is repeated throughout the day. It is also a full body workout.
According to LiveStrong.com and Self.com, snowboarding burns between 400-500 calories per hour. Whether you are a pro boarder or can barely make it off the ski lift, the rigorous sport will leave you toned from head to toe (and probably a bit sore the next day). Snowboarding challenges your legs the most, but staying balanced on the board is a great core workout, too.
Both winter sports are great cardiovascular activities, but be careful for issues with the altitude. You can get altitude sickness and you may find it more challenging to catch your breath at the higher levels.