How Many Calories Does Skiing Burn? Downhill & Cross Country

If you are a ski lover and a fitness enthusiast, then you have probably wondered how skiing can help with burning calories. Skiing is a winter sport where you use your entire body to maneuver down or along a snow-filled trail, often with some obstacles in your way. But are ski calories a real thing? The short answer is yes, but how many calories are burned skiing?

Skiing calories can be seen as just another gift for skiers. You have fun on the slopes but you also burn calories, and it’s an activity that the entire family can enjoy. On average an adult burns around 2300 calories per day doing everyday tasks, so the main question is how much more can you burn while on a skiing trip?

So if you want to shred a few pounds during winter, get your helmet, fix up the skis, grab your heated jacket, and hit the slopes.

How does Skiing Compare To Other Calorie Burning Exercise?

The main questions are does skiing burn calories and how does it compare to other forms of exercise? Typically people won’t associate skiing as a method for exercise since it’s seen as a fun outdoor activity. But you can in fact measure the effect of exercising on the slopes and compare it to other exercises like running.

Using the Metabolic Equivalent for Task (MET) tool, you can see that it’s easy to compare energy usage by doing different exercises. Skiing’s MET ranges from 4.0 – 15.0 depending on the difficulty of the slopes and if you’re doing cross country skiing.

To compare it more, running a 12-minute mile gives you a MET score of 8. So skiing is close to running, depending on your pace and the difficulty, only skiing is a lot more fun.

A person skiing

How Many Calories Do You Burn Skiing Per Hour?

The number of calories burned skiing depends on a few factors including your weight, the difficulty of the ski trails, how long you ski for, and of course, your skis. Your weight is a factor in almost every part of the exercise, and the more you weigh, the more calories you’ll burn doing anything.

Ski trail difficulties are normally shown by using the colors green, blue, red, and black. Green is the easiest kind of trail that is suggested to beginners, while red and black are the hardest trails that are for experts only.

Another factor is your skis. The best downhill skis generally have 2 factors, if they are smaller they offer more speed. While longer skis are generally focused more on stability. Depending on the size, you get to do more runs per hour meaning more calories burnt.

On average skiing calories burned are between 200 – 600 per hour. If you are a beginner or take a beginner’s trail, then you can burn 200 or more calories per hour depending on how long you ski for. In general, these trails don’t offer that much resistance and are a simple route so your calories burned would be less.

If you are an intermediate or advanced skier, then upwards of 400 calories can be burnt each hour. Which is enough to get rid of your breakfast or lunch. Women and men are however different. Men, being the weightier out of the two, will most of the time burn more calories.

Three people carrying their skis

How Many Calories Does Cross Country Skiing Burn?

Cross country skiing is much more straining on the body than regular skiing. Calories burned downhill skiing sits between 200 – 600, but there is a big difference when it comes to cross country skiing. This is a much more challenging part of skiing and a much longer one, which is only done by professionals and experts.

The big difference between downhill and cross country skiing is that with downhill skiing the trail has been set up for you already. In cross country, you have a lot more freedom to roam around any area that has snow. Normally a larger area can be flat, uphill or downhill and they are a lot longer than regular skiing. Be sure to pack in some ski helmet headphones before taking a long trail.

In cross country, the skiing calorie burn can reach up to 1300 if you are traveling at around 8 miles per hour or faster. However, these numbers are based on pro skiers that took part in the Winter Olympics. For non-Olympians, the number is around 700 – 800 calories burned per hour. It is slightly more than how many calories you burn downhill skiing but depends on your pace.

A man doing cross country skiing

Other Skiing Benefits

Aside from cross country and downhill skiing calories burned, skiing comes with a few other health benefits as well. Although most see it as a fun-loving outdoor sport, it’s also great exercise. Here are a few other benefits of skiing.

Great Way To Strengthen Lower Body Muscles

Both skiing and snowboarding are great cardiovascular exercises and work well on your lower body. Skiing keeps your body in a squat-like position as you go down the slopes. It strengthens your quads, calves, hamstrings, and glutes simultaneously.

Work Wonders On Your Balance & Flexibility

Some sort of balancing is needed when skiing. Your body needs to maneuver with your skis on turns which is great for your balance. It also improves your flexibility with the same motions of turning and reduces muscle strains.

Your Core Muscles

Skiing affects your core a lot more than you think. Skiing on slippery or rough slopes needs balance and the more balancing you do, the more it’ll affect your core muscles. It forces the core to be more engaged when skiing, resulting in improved overall core strength.

A man skiing downhill

Are Ski Calories Worth It?

Yes. Skiing is a great activity that is for the entire family. If you can have fun and also get a good workout, then skiing is perfect for you. The slope is a winter playground and a gym all in one.

It could be one of the easiest ways to burn a couple of calories by simply gliding downhill and enjoying the rush of the slopes. So put on your best ski helmet, grab your ski gloves, and go burn some calories on the slopes.