Professional big-mountain skier Sage Cattabriga-Alosa makes ripping down face-melting lines in Alaska look easy. And while he has plenty of genetic talent to thank for those feats, he wouldn’t be one of the world’s best skiers if he didn’t train like a maniac in the off-season. The number one skill he focuses on? Balance. Whether you’re pizza-ing down greens or sending 20-footers, improving your balance will make you a better skier, so we asked the 35-year-old pro for his top five balance-training techniques—no fancy tools required.
Get on a Skateboard
Just rolling around town on a skateboard requires good balance, and it’s one of the best ways to train your legs for ski season. Cattabriga-Alosa says skating down city streets and avoiding rocks and jumping curbs also help teach him to look ahead and scout for clear routes—key when skiing fast on big lines. Plus, it’s fun and cheap if you go for a used board or one from a big-box retailer.
Train Your Core
“We often focus on leg balance, but your core is a major balance point for your body,” says Cattabriga-Alosa. He regularly sits on an exercise ball, like the $30 GoFit Pro Stability Ball, lifting his legs off the floor to activate his core and test his balance.
Stand on a Balance Disc
Cattabriga-Alosa spends a few minutes every day standing on a balance disc like this $20 version from Gaiam. Standing builds leg strength but also works the muscles in your feet, which is key when you’re driving big planks down a steep face. To up the ante, he also uses the disc for one- and two-leg squats.
Make Your Own Balance Board
Sure, you could buy a balance board, but Cattabriga-Alosa prefers to make his own from an old skate deck and a two-liter plastic soda bottle filled with water. This saves money, but the homemade tool is also more agile and better for practicing spins because of the bottle’s slick surface. The setup is also plenty durable. “It sounds super sketchy, but you can fully air onto the thing without it breaking,” Cattabriga-Alosa says.
Slackline or Walk a Fence Line
Slacklining improves your balance, and if you have the proper setup, it makes for ideal balance training. If you don’t have a slackline, find a fence with a solid beam on top.