How Many Calories Does Skiing Burn?

Cori Gramms
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You have probably heard that skiing is one of the best exercises for burning calories. But how many calories does it actually burn?

The Quick Answer

There is no conclusive number of calories burnt by skiing; however, the generally accepted range is between 300 and 600 calories an hour.

Inside the Numbers

There is such a significant range because factors like sex, weight, where you ski, and your ability level will all have an impact on how many calories you burn.

One of the most in-depth studies, conducted by Harvard Medical School, concluded that, per hour, a 125-pound person burns 360 calories, a 155-pound person burns 446 calories, and a person weighing 185 pounds burns 532 calories.

However, the only way to find out exactly how much you are burning during a ski trip is to bring a body monitor with you. These are typically worn around your waist, with a clip that sits right at your hip and can track your heart rate and the calories you have burned during any type of workout. The good thing about body monitors is that they are fairly accurate.

Why Does Skiing Burn Calories?

Skiing is a cardiovascular exercise that involves the legs, back, shoulders, and arms.

It also works your core muscles. With every turn, you have to balance your body to bring your skis parallel to the ground. This requires great strength in your lower and middle back to keep your upper body from tipping over.

Depending on the type of skiing, the number of calories you burn will differ. Cross-country skiing, for example, burns a lot more calories than downhill skiing.

Additional Resources

  • For a calorie calculator that factors in most skiing variables, click here.

  • We recommend taking a look at the article, "How to Lose Weight Skiing" for optimizing your ski session for weight loss.

  • If you are interested in a comparison between skiing and other winter sports, click here.

Final Words

Unlike other exercises, with skiing, you cannot exercise for a single set length of time and then calculate how many calories you burned. It doesn’t work that way. You also cannot determine the results by measuring your heart rate after the exercise. Additionally, the number of calories you burn is different in males and females and also varies according to the type of skiing you engage in, the terrain, and your ability level.

For these reasons, two people going skiing will not burn the same amount of calories. However, what can be agreed upon is that skiing is one of the best interval training workouts you can do. So not only is skiing a fun and exciting sport, but it is also excellent for your health and fitness and, of course, for burning calories.

So, what other motivation do you need to pick up your skis?