optimal nutrition for the ski slope

The ski holidays are just around the corner. But what does optimal nutrition look like on a skiing day? It's worth taking a look at the energy consumption during a day on the boards.

Energy consumption when skiing:

For example, a 31-year-old woman who is 170 cm tall and weighs about 60 kg has a basal metabolic rate of about 1’400 calories (1). On the piste, the brain work is added to this due to the constant attentiveness to the environment. On the other hand, there is the physical strain due to the continuous tension of the leg and trunk muscles. Depending on how strong the edge use is when waving down and how many breaks you take, the higher is the additional energy demand. This additional requirement varies between 300-450 calories per hour (2). If we now conservatively assume five hours of skiing at medium intensity, this results in a total energy consumption of 3’275 calories (3) for our example woman.


If the calorie requirement is not covered during the skiing day, hunger increases significantly in the evening. This means that a balanced meal is usually not enough. The calorie consumption in the evening is compensated accordingly. Stupid only that during the course of the day the insulin sensitivity decreases. Accordingly, the carbohydrates are less well absorbed by the muscles. The excess calories then end up mainly in abdominal fat.

It should also be noted that, depending on your fitness level and the altitude of the ski area (oxygen saturation in the air decreases from 2,500 metres above sea level), the body tries to cover this additional requirement mainly through carbohydrates. If it does not get these, the body’s own carbohydrate stores are used up relatively quickly. This in turn causes the cortisol level to rise. A possible consequence of this is protein breakdown. If this happens over a period of several days, e.g. during skiing holidays, this can lead to more water retention and the associated weight gain, poorer circulation and increased susceptibility to injury.


To prevent this from happening, it is advisable in such cases to live a proactive (eat first, then perform) diet while skiing. This already starts with a balanced breakfast. During the day it is recommended to consume regular snacks in the form of quickly available carbohydrates. This can be done either with sweet pastries, apple spritzer or punch. Since the menus at the huts are usually very carbohydrate-heavy anyway, lunch can be enjoyed with a clear conscience, knowing that the energy requirement is high. Control is then the dinner. If a balanced main meal is sufficient here, one can assume that the calorie requirement has been well covered by the day. So nothing stands in the way of another beautiful day’s skiing.

Have fun skiing



  3. 1’400kcal Grundumsatz + 1’875kcal (Aktivität: 5hx375kcal) = 3’275kcal Energieumsatz

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