Healthy Tahoe: Are you mentally prepared for ski season?

Ryan Carr

There’s more to preparing for the slopes than getting in shape.

Ryan Carr

Physical fitness has a lot to do with your ability to enjoy ski season. But your mental fitness is just as important. Hitting the slopes after recovering from an injury or simply pushing yourself beyond your comfort zone in challenging terrain can create plenty of barriers to a fun day in the snow. As you tune up your gear and work on your cardio for the season ahead, consider your mental preparation as well. It will help you avoid getting stuck in your head when it comes to having fun on the mountain.

Stay in the present moment. Most performance jitters occur because we are thinking about what happened in the past or worrying about what may come in the future. By staying in the present moment, you will not only enjoy your day in the snow, but also perform at a higher level. Practicing mindfulness now can help you stay focused on the mountain’s conditions later.

Improve your confidence by setting process goals. Process goals focus on actions that help you perform well. One example might be managing your breath on a steep run rather than worrying about getting down in one piece. Try this before ski season by putting process goals in place and applying them to activities now.

Plan to address mistakes productively. Go into ski season with a mistake ritual to keep your head in the game. For example, commit to following up a fall with a physical action such as adjusting your gloves, or a mantra such as “next run.” This will help you refocus your attention, and continue with your run. Mistake rituals help leave mishaps where they belong: in the past.

Recovering from an injury can bring mental and physical challenges to ski season as well. Skiers and snowboarders can avoid incurring re-injury or a new injury by being proactive before getting on the mountain. The Barton Center for Orthopedics & Wellness offers personalized plans that integrate services across Barton’s orthopedic providers, rehabilitation programs, performance training, and group wellness classes to connect mind and body, such as yoga and mindfulness. All of these services are available under one roof to coordinate care and get you back on the slopes.

Ryan Carr is the Performance Supervisor and a certified mental performance coach at the Barton Center for Orthopedics & Wellness. To learn more about services at the Center that can help you prepare for sports, visit

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