The Crystal Ski Holidays Blog

How many calories does skiing burn?

Holidays are all about indulgence, and ski holidays are no different – what with the chalet cakes, mountain-top pizzas and après-ski mulled wines. But don’t feel too guilty, because skiing has pretty good fat-burning potential.  

How many calories can you burn skiing?

It really depends on you and the type of slopes you’re tackling – moguls and black runs will burn a lot more than gentle greens.

But even beginners who aren’t spending much time on steeper slopes can easily burn off their morning croissants. Practicing your snowploughs, sidestepping up hills, hauling yourself up after a fall, and just staying warm all uses up energy.

Intermediate and advanced skiers tend to burn between 300 and 600 calories an hour – more than enough to cancel out your lunchtime cheese fondue – though it does differ between men and women. Women can burn around 400 calories per hour on blue and red runs, while men can burn up to 200 more than that. And that even includes the time you spend sitting on chairlifts and stopping for lunch.

So in a day (or around 4 hours’ worth of skiing), most people can expect to have used up around 1,600 calories. That means you can treat yourself to eight hot chocolates and still not tip the scales.

skiers laughing and drinkingg coffee

Is skiing good exercise?

In short, yes – and it beats the gym any day. Skiing and snowboarding are fun ways of combining cardio with strength and balance training, and use a range of different muscles throughout your body…

  • Quadriceps – these are the large muscles on the front of your thighs and are the main muscles used in skiing. They hold you in position and help flex your hips and extend your knees. The steeper the run, the more you’ll feel the burn.
  • Hamstrings – these muscles run down the backs of your thighs and help absorb shock and protect the sensitive ACL – the anterior cruciate ligaments that hold your knee together.
  • Gluteals – your glutes, located in your bum, help you to lean forward and maintain balance. The medius and minimus gluteals work together to rotate your hips – particularly useful on slopes where you have to make more turns, like moguls and black runs.
  • Core – your back and abdominal muscles are essential stabilisers for your pelvis and spine, helping you stay upright and on your feet.

You don’t have to be in peak physical condition to ski, but it helps to prep your body before you go, so you can ski for longer and prevent any injuries.

female skier

Are there other winter sports that burn more calories?

If you fancy trying something different, there are loads of other winter sports that burn a ton of calories – from cross-country skiing to speed skating.  

Winter sport Calories burned per hour (male) Calories burned per hour (female)
Snowboarding 521 428
Cross-country skiing 756 621
Ice skating 588 483
Ski jumping 588 483
Speed skating 1,260 1,035
Ice hockey 672 552
Bobsleigh 588 483
Snow biking 1,000 800
Bobsleigh in France
Bobsleighing in La Plagne

After such a good workout, you’ve definitely earned that mid-morning hot chocolate or lunchtime burger. Go on, give skiing a go.

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