How Many Calories Do You Burn Skiing

Skiing is one of the high-calorie burning activities that you can do during the winter.

So you are probably wondering, how many calories does skiing burn? Well, if you are in good shape and can do cross country skiing competitively, you can effectively torch around 20 calories per minute. That is a thousand calories in over an hour of activity. 

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But this is when your ability allows you to push yourself to that limit. There are many factors to consider in terms of exercise and weight loss. Let us look into the technicalities of significant calorie burn while skiing. 

Is Skiing Useful Exercise?

Yes. Skiing is more exciting and enjoyable rather than hitting the gym. It is a fun way of combining your skills, cardio, strength, and balance. With skiing, you utilize a vast range of different muscle groups throughout the body. 

The main groups involved in skiing are quadriceps, hamstrings, gluteals, and core muscles. 

1. Quadriceps

The quads are the large muscle group at the front of your thighs. This is the leading group used when skiing. They maintain your skiing position and allows you to flex your hips or extend your keens. The steeper the track runs, the more you feel your quads will burn. 

2. Hamstrings

This muscle group is located at the back of the thighs.  They function by absorbing the shock and protecting the ACL. The anterior cruciate ligaments are what hold the knees together. 

3. Gluteals

The glutes are the muscle group located in our bum. They function by letting us lean forward while maintaining our balance. The minimus and medius gluteals function together, allowing the body to rotate the hips. 

This motion is useful when attacking the slopes, and you have to make sudden turns, like moguls and black runs. 

4. Core

The core muscles are composed of the back and abdominal muscles. They work as stabilizers for the spine and pelvis. These are the muscles that help us stay upright and on our feet. 

5. Recreational Skiing

When you look at how pros do it on the track, you can easily spot that skiers need strong legs. Skiing is highly dependent on one’s inner thighs, outer thighs, and hips. Without their function, you can not move your skis towards the direction that you want to go to. 

When you’re out on the slopes, your knees would be bent. This isometric posture will keep the quads activated.  Recreational skiing alone can burn up to 300 calories an hour. 

Your feet are also important when skiing. And with every direction change, it also requires the muscles from the shin and calves to activate. Each turn would also require one’s obliques and the torso muscles, in general, to work too. 

Physical Conditioning For Skiing

Skiing is a physically demanding activity. That is why it is important to stay in shape before hitting the slopes.

Being in shape does not only mean you can ski more effectively, it also prevents unnecessary injuries to your body. There are several exercises that you can do at home without the need to hit the gym. 

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For recreational skiers, this is enough. As you advance, so will the need for proper conditioning. Here are some easy workouts that can prep you for skiing. 

1. Squats

The quads are most probably the most required muscle group when skiing. One of the easiest ways to develop your quads and building leg strength is through squats. 

Try to do around four sets with 20 repetitions. Remember to give yourself a 60-second rest in between the sets. If you wish to make this workout a little harder, do the exact method but this time, carry weight on each hand. 

2. Squat Jumps

Take your normal squat routine to the next level with squat jumps. This does not only further strengthen one’s legs, but this will also help with the explosiveness the glutes and quads may need when out on the track. This is needed when you make it on the slopes. 

The same number of sets and repetitions is needed for squat jumps. Landing softly on your feet will make the exercise more effective. 

3. Wall Squats

This activity will definitely be effective when building endurance. This will prevent the burning sensation in your legs during tough and long runs. To make this more effective, try to push your back and glutes against the wall. 

4. Lunges

Lunges are not only great for building strength but for developing balance too. Try to keep the proper posture when doing this activity. Keep your torso straight, shoulders back and balanced, and your chin up. This will activate your core every time you do repetitions. 

5. Planking

Having a strong core is a good foundation of a body that is in good shape. This is relevant to skiing because you use your core muscles a lot when you are out on the slopes. Having a strong core is essential when you are attacking a very technical terrain. 

When doing plank workouts, never let your hips dip. Your torso down to your legs should form a straight line when lifted off the ground. 


When you are in tip-top shape, an hour of cross-country skiing will burn around 800 calories. The number of calories that you will burn depends on the type of skiing that you engage in. Some activities burn more calories than others. 

What is important is that skiing is not only good for weight loss, it is also good for someone’s overall well-being. Skiing is a good way to bring people together. And being out on the slopes can improve your mood greatly. 

The bottom line is, it does not matter what type of skiing you do. What’s important is that you are having fun while torching all of those calories. Being prepared is essential, as well. Preparing your body physically for skiing means more ski time, calorie burn, and more fun on the slopes.

Jomar Teves

A blogger by day, a tech enthusiast by night, and a downhill mountain biker at the weekends. After four years in business school and working for multinational clients, Jomar believes he can improve the world through his writings. Jomar has six years experience as a writer and is a graduate of the BSBA Entrepreneurial Marketing program. His work has been published on Clutch Points, Blokt and iTech.