A former cardiovascular and thoracic surgeon, Terry McEnany, MD, has since retired and taken on a new career as a ski instructor. Dr. Terry McEnany teaches through Ski and Snowboard Schools of Aspen, Colorado, where he helps skiers to navigate the slopes healthfully and skillfully.
Healthy and safe skiing requires not only a firm grasp on technique but also attention to proper nutrition. A skier typically burns between 400 and 750 calories per hour, and this energy needs to be refilled at proper intervals. A healthy meal before the day’s session is essential, as it provides the glycogen that muscles need to perform at high levels.
Lean protein also helps to ensure that the body maintains adequate stores of glycogen, which the muscles can draw from to fuel extended ski sessions. Foods such as sandwiches and cereal with milk, which include both carbohydrates and protein, are strong choices for providing the muscles with short and long-term energy. These foods are particularly helpful for skiers to eat during a lunch break, which is essential for keeping the athlete strong throughout the afternoon.
It is also important for a skier to follow the ski session with a healthy snack or light meal. Carbohydrates and protein support muscle recovery and help the skier to refuel, while fresh fruits and vegetables provide the nutrients necessary for overall healing and wellness.