Top Ten Ways to Prep For Ski Season

October 01, 2014 D'Arcy McLeish
Cold Smoke, At Last Frontier. Soon... Photo - Reuben Krabbe
Cold smoke, at Last Frontier. Soon…
Photo – Reuben Krabbe

Somewhere in the world it’s snowing. Right now that happens to be just down the road and about 6000 feet higher than where I am currently sitting. I’m excited. Winter is coming. Soon I’ll be shredding waist deep turns in blower pow. At least that’s the theory. Depending on the winter ahead, that may or may not happen on a regular basis. Regardless, once will be enough. But how best to prepare yourself for ski season?

What All The Hard Work Is For. Photo - Dave Silver
What all the hard work is for.
Photo – Dave Silver

Lots of people tend to spend this time of year getting in shape for ski season. They go to the gym or crossfit or whatever other ridiculous exercise regime they think will help them get their ‘ski’ legs back. Last time I checked, the only way to get your ski legs back was, well, to go skiing. A lot. But be that as it may, I guess some people feel compelled. For myself, ski season preparation rarely has anything to do with exercise. First, working it out is silly. If you’re going to exercise, do something fun, don’t go sweat in a room full of people yelling at each other to do more dead lifts. Ride your bike. Go for a hike. Climb a mountain. Go surfing, paddling, play soccer, go kiting, walk the dog, run with the dog, go spelunking…but do something fun. Spending several hours a week in a gym? I’d rather spend several hours a week watching government proceedings.

This Is What I Would Like For The Winter... Photo - Caton Garvie
This is what I would like for the winter…
Photo – Caton Garvie

Second, getting your ski legs back requires one thing and one thing only – skiing. Yes, your legs will be sore after the first few turns. Yes, your quads will burn as you make your way to the chair for that last lap. But isn’t the burn part of skiing? It’s that a good reminder that skiing requires a little effort? Like the first time you throw your skins on each year, it’s a lung buster, but all the more satisfying once you start your descent.

All that aside, there are some things I do to prepare for ski season, they just aren’t steeped in exercise and wellness, at least not for the body. Here are my top ten ways to prepare for the winter season:

10. Go to every ski film premiere.

9. Make sure any new gear purchases are next to my bed until opening day.

8. Grow a beard and develop that hard core mountain man look.

7. Watch the entire Greg Stump Film Collection.

6. Get the season’s first issue of Powder Magazine and spend several days reading, dreaming and generally imagining what it would be like to have a heli budget from Red Bull for the year.

Heaven. Photo - Dave Silver
Photo – Dave Silver

5. Call Red Bull and see if they want to sponsor me. Call anyone and see if they want to sponsor me. Ski companies, friends, parents, spouses…whatever works.

4. Prepare to quit my day job just in time for opening day.

3. Get a vehicle I can live in. Vans are best, but I’ve managed to live in a Subaru, a VW Golf and a Lada. Just about anything works.

2. Practice doing sports while hungover and deprived of sleep.

1. Get a new toque. This is important. Toques, as skiers and citizens of the mountain culture, are how we identify ourselves as the real searchers in life. Like a pair of yoga pants, Toques let others know you are, simply, a skier.

Whatever you do, stay away from anything purporting to be able to get your ski legs back. Nothing does that as well as skiing. So relax. Skip the gym, and enjoy the fall. Spend your days outside or in, biking or reading books, relaxing or having fun. But cherish it. ‘Cause when the snow starts, things will move fast and the mountains will call.

Be safe, ski hard.