If you’re looking to kill a few calories but are unwilling to sign your soul away for an unused year at your local jazzy gym, why not consider the outdoor life and some truly awesome winter sports to get in shape the fun way. Of course the temptation of all that heavenly indulgent mountain food on a ski or snowboarding holiday (Tartiflette, Raclette, Fondue..) might have you concerned about piling it on, but fear not as food = fuel and that’s exactly what you’ll be burning tonnes of each day spent on the slopes.

Snowsports are an excellent form of cardio as well as a great way to tone and strengthen leg, core and arm muscles. Both skiing and snowboarding are particularly good for strengthening the ankles, lower legs, quadriceps and glutes, as you engage these muscles to control your board or skis. Both activities require good balance, which work your core muscles, pulling in your abs and helping to align your spine. As you balance, you use your arm muscles to help steady yourself, working to firm them up, particularly in the upper arms and shoulders.



When your muscles are strong, the body works harder to use them, therefore burning more calories. This, plus being in a cold environment (where your body burns calories just to keep warm) is great news for your metabolism! On top of all these great health benefits, skiing and boarding also release adrenaline and endorphins which lift your mood and make you feel more alert, awake and happy.

So how many calories does skiing / snowboarding burn?

Skiing or boarding for 6 hours can burn a whopping 2000 - 3000 calories, depending on your age, weight and height. With that in mind, it may take a lot less time than you think just to burn off that mulled wine and 3 Wiener Schnitzels you had for lunch…

Here are a few examples of some popular, hearty ski foods and drinks with an estimate of how long it takes to burn off each one (each food portion is based on a 300g serving).


Food / Drink Approx. Calories Approx. amount of Skiing / Boarding it takes to burn it off
Tartiflette 550 1hr 18mins
Fondue 793 1hr 54mins
Apfelstrudel with Custard 548 1hr 18mins
Käsespätzle 885 2hr 6mins
Germknödel 458 1hr 6mins
Raclette 1000 2hrs 24mins
Gnocchi with Tomato Sauce and Cheese 700 1hr 42mins
Goulash Soup with Bread 468 1hr 6mins
Tiroler Gröstl 758 1hr 48mins
Wiener Schnitzel 750 1hr 48mins
1 Nutella Crepe 579 1hr 24mins
3 Glasses of Mulled Wine 820 2hrs
3 Pints of Beer 546 1hr 18mins
1 Mug of Hot Chocolate With Marshmallows and Whipped Cream 321 48mins


Health Tips for Skiing & Snowboarding

The amount of calories burned while out on the slopes are immense and give you reason to feel less guilty about what you consume après ski. A day in the mountains can be exhausting and you will find yourself needing to consume more food in order to feel energised. If you want to know about the best foods to eat in order to keep you powering through, we’ve created a little guide below.

  • Breakfast – Breakfast is the most important meal and if you want to set yourself up for a day of skiing / boarding then don’t skip it. Eating in the morning will kickstart your metabolism and give your body the fuel it needs to get through those first few runs. A protein heavy breakfast featuring plenty of salmon, ham or eggs is ideal, as it will keep you full for longer. Throw in some carbs, such as bread or potatoes, and your energy levels will be all set to go.

  • Mid-morning snack – Top up your energy levels mid-morning with a granola bar, protein bar or flapjack. It’s light enough to digest while still skiing, plus it should give you that little extra boost. Remember to keep hydrated too and to drink as much water or fruit juice as you can.

  • Lunch – Lunch is a great time to rebuild your energy. Think carbs and go for a baked potato, pasta, or a whole whole-wheat sandwich. Soups and salads are a great option too as they are packed full of healthy vegetables. Avoid too much fried, greasy food as this will sap your energy levels and leave you feeling groggy. Before hitting up the piste again, try and allow 1 hour to digest your food. If you try and get skiing again too early you risk getting stomach ache and even feeling a little dizzy – not good when navigating slightly more complex runs!

  • Mid-afternoon snack – If you feel tired again mid-afternoon, grab another granola bar, protein bar or flapjack. Fruit is another great, light option too to help keep you going until the evening.

  • Dinner – By the end of the day, your muscles will be tired and will need some good food to help them recover. Eat plenty of protein again – cheese, chicken, red meat – and some more carbs – bread, pasta, potatoes – to restore your energy levels.


Feeling in the mood for a ski trip now? Check out our Last Minute Ski Holidays 2015.