I think we can all agree the better shape you’re in, the more fun you’ll have while skiing. You’d be surprised how many activities, like hiking will keep your body in tip-top physical condition. Throughout the season we’ll be featuring different activities you can participate in so when the fresh powder falls, you’ll be ready to shred in no time!
Take a Hike:
Mother Nature has so much to offer us. It gives us the opportunity to reconnect with ourselves, reduces our stress levels, and allows us to escape the hustle and bustle of our everyday lives. If the term “hiking” conjures up the image of a casual stroll through the mountaintops, (and perhaps a few eye rolls) the staff here at SKIS.com has some insight for you that might shift your perspective!
Exploring Your Community:
Hiking is an exciting way to experience the great outdoors and can be quite enjoyable, regardless of your fitness level. Hiking also gives you the opportunity to experience different facets of your local outdoor community. Take the Mt. Sanitas Hike in Boulder, CO for example. This area offers two hiking options year round. The first is a 3.3 mile loop that has you gaining a whopping 1300 ft. in elevation. The second is an easy 2 miles out-and-back. Regardless of which you choose, you’ll experience gorgeous wildflowers, wildlife and other scenery along the trail. And if you push yourself to reach the top, you’ll be rewarded with beautiful views of the Flatirons and the city of Boulder. Hiking at Mt. Sanitas does tend to be quite popular, so if you’re looking to hike in solitude, this might not be the best hiking choice for you.
Hiking in Groups:
Hiking is also great for groups, making it ideal for families looking to bond outside of their yearly ski trips (many places allow you to bring your four-legged family members along too). One of my favorite haunts is the Devil’s Backbone Open Space in Loveland, Colorado. The Devil’s Backbone itself is one of the most visible geologic landmarks in Larimer County and in total it boasts 12 miles of trail that connect the Rimrock Open Space to Horsetooth Mountain Open Space. However, that mileage can easily be subdivided to fit your family’s’ individual needs. A mile in you’ll find the keyhole which overlooks the city; the perfect place for a photo opportunity to document your adventure!
While you’re taking in all the gorgeous views, you’ll also be working your glutes, quads and hamstrings; these are all key muscles to maintain for ski season. Aim for longer hikes with large gains in elevation and steep climbs. Your legs and lungs will be burning by the time you reach the summit, but they’ll thank you later in the year when you’re ripping down the slopes. One of my go-to places in town is Green Mountain which you can get to via Gregory Canyon Trail in Boulder, Colorado. The trail itself runs right through the iconic flatirons so the views are captivating. You can amp up the physical implications and intensity of this hike by alternating between jogging and walking. These intervals will help you maintain your cardiovascular strength, while saving your knees and legs from too much jarring.
Keep in Mind:
It’s important to plan and pack appropriately for your hike to reap the most physical benefits. It’s also important to let someone know where you plan on hiking and when you plan on arriving home. Be sure to pack enough water to last for your entire hike, along with food, a map, a small first aid kit, and a flashlight. While it’s likely you may not use each item on every hike, it’s important to always be prepared!
Challenge yourself to hikes in different areas, and you won’t be disappointed when the times comes to unpack your winter gear and hit the slopes!