The crisp air has hit much of the country, and instantly our minds have switched to snow. With many resorts looking at the Thanksgiving holiday as a prime opening day, we still have a couple of months to get in ski season shape. So get off the couch and get outside with these five tips to get moving without having to hit the gym. When the snow starts to fall, you want your body to keep up with your zeal.
1. Elevate – Get back to altitude
Whether you live near the mountains or visit a few times a year, elevation may be the hardest part of the skiing experience to prepare for. Getting acclimated to the thin air found at higher elevations can wear you down no matter how hard you have trained. If you live in a state where you can access higher altitudes, start planning a weekly hike or run in those areas; your lungs will appreciate it on your first day out. If you call the flatlands home, make sure to give your body at least a day to get acclimated to the sharp change in elevation wherever your skiing. This doesn’t mean don’t ski, just save the hard charging for day two.
2. Yoga – Get your body limber
Early season is always ripe with injuries as many people are ripping down the hill as if they’d never taken a break, and their body can’t keep up. Yoga is a great way to start easing tension throughout the body. Start stretching daily, throwing yoga poses in here and there to hit various points that may have been at rest during the summer. Once the season hits, think about taking ten minutes to stretch it out each morning. It will change the way you ski.
3. Hiking – Add some weight
As mentioned above, hiking is a great way to get back in shape for the season, especially if you are at elevation. On top of expanding your lungs, adding a few more pounds to your hiking pack will make the transition into ski season a bit easier. Think about all of the gear your wearing while on the mountain. The weight does make a difference, and your endurance levels will be affected. This is especially true for anyone who regularly carries a pack, spends some time ski touring, or even ski mountaineering.
4. Running – Change your terrain
Cardio is one of the best ways to get ready for the winter. Most people spend long weekend days taking lap after lap on the hill, and this takes stamina. In order to mock that scenario, start adding steeper routes into your running routine. If you’re in the mountains great – hit the trail instead of the road. If you’re a city dweller, no worries, find a hill and do some laps on it—maybe only one lap if San Francisco is home.
5. Balance – Work your core
Balance gives you the ability to make hard turns and avoid taking too many spills as you speed down the mountain. Your core is responsible for this, so if the couch has been your closest friend this summer, it’s time for a few sit-ups. You don’t need abs of steel—although that would be nice—but you do need to start building some muscle if you’re trying to progress this season. Add a core section into your daily workout or crank out 20 minutes of abdominal exercises every other day. Not only will your skiing reflect the work, you might get a few extra smiles in the hot tub after a long day on the hill.