Heads up: ski season starts NOW!

September 12, 2014 Katie Marti

For some, winter is the season to let it all go: bring on the sweatpants and Netflix and check in with the cardiovascular system in the spring. For skiers and snowboarders, however, winter is go time. There’s no greater excitement than suiting up on opening day, an epic season ahead in which every day will probably be a powder day, you will finally nail a backflip and your YouTube channel will go viral. There is also no greater pain than the immediate burning which will inevitably spread from your feet up to your lungs as you break a sweat just getting from the gondola to the first chair on your very first run. This is the natural result of an entire summer spent car camping and drinking beer in an inflatable lounger at the lake. Luckily, we’ve got some tips on how to get in shape for ski season NOW!

Keeping Up! Photo: Reuben Krabbe
Keeping up! Photo: Reuben Krabbe

For strength:

Your large muscles and lower body are key. Getting a membership at the local gym for a few months in the shoulder season is a great way to pass the time when it’s too cold and wet to play outside. Alternatively, stay home and do leg blasters in your living room a few times a week. Either way, engaging and strengthening the big hitters like your quads, hamstrings, glutes and lower back muscles will keep you upright and powering through variable terrain, long runs and big days like a pro.

That's A Quad Burner! Photo: Chris O'connell
That’s a quad burner! Photo: Chris O’Connell

For endurance:

Skiing and snowboarding usually involve quick bursts of aerobic activity followed by short breaks and time for recovery. Obviously, you don’t want to be the guy/gal everyone is constantly waiting for, so it’s best to work towards increasing the amount of time you’re able to spend with an elevated heart rate and decrease the amount of time you need to recover. Running hills and standard interval training routines are great for this. Instead of going for a 5 km run, find a hill and run it repeatedly or, if that sounds too boring, time your run so that you alternate between sprinting and jogging. If you’re literally starting from couch potato, you can even do a jog/walk combination until you’ve worked your way into better shape.

Show Off! Photo: Adam Clark
Show off! Photo: Adam Clark

For everything else:

For everything else, there’s yoga. Strengthening your core and increasing flexibility will not only up your ski game, it will do wonders in terms of avoiding injury. Joining a studio is really helpful in terms of keeping you honest because it costs so much you’ll be committed to getting your money’s worth, but also because classes are designed to work a variety of areas and tend to be more effective than staying at home doing downward dog for twenty minutes, then getting bored and making Kraft Dinner. Some studios even have specialized classes to target muscle groups and joints specific to winter sports.

You Can't See It, But His Core Is Seriously Engaged. Photo: Dave Silver
You can’t see it, but his core is seriously engaged. Photo: Dave Silver

Ideally, these are three key components to any healthy lifestyle. It’s not rocket science. But sometimes we stray. Sometimes we become accustomed to lazy summer days and begin to feel like swinging in a hammock is actually physical activity. Then ski season hits and we’re sitting out every other run while the fit kids steal our lines. The time is now. The season is here. Dust off your gym bag and get fired up: this winter is going to be epic.