How Many Calories Are Burned in Downhill Skiing?

Lone skier riding through powder, British Columbia, Canada

Downhill skiing, also called alpine skiing, is a vigorous winter sport that provides a good outdoor workout. The challenge of exercising in the cold and the excitement of speeding down a snow-covered mountainside appeal to many who travel to ski resorts every year to partake in downhill skiing.


A person who weighs 155 pounds burns 223 calories in half an hour of downhill skiing, according to Harvard Medical School. Someone who is 185 pounds burns 266 calories in 30 minutes of downhill skiing.


Downhill skiing incorporates both aerobic and anaerobic activity, research published in the journal "Sports Medicine" explains. It not only burns lots of calories, but also improves strength, flexibility, balance, endurance and agility. However, there is a high risk of injury in downhill skiing; pregnant women or people with underlying health conditions contraindicating intense exercise, such as heart disease, should avoid it.


Cross-country skiing is another type of skiing that burns even more calories than downhill skiing. The calorie burn during 30 minutes of cross-country skiing is 298 calories for a 155-pound person, notes Harvard Medical School. Other winter activities that provide a high level of calorie burn include snowshoeing and ice skating.