While some skiers anticipate the arrival of ski season many months in advance, many of us find ourselves scrambling to get fit, make sure our ski gear is up to snuff, and confirm our work and family schedules will allow for a few good ski trips or perhaps a longer ski vacation. Even though it’s Halloween, you still have several weeks to get ready for a great winter. Here are a couple things to focus on before the snow arrives:
–Schedule: For many skiers, the biggest hurdle to having a good winter is making sure you have time and energy to get to the slopes in the first place. Let’s face it; skiing is a time-consuming passion, even if you’re lucky enough to live near the mountains. Prioritize skiing by making a commitment; book a couple of long weekend trips, or reserve a school vacation week to travel to a destination ski area. (We’re partial to Alta of course.) If you’re able to ski on regular weekends, consider booking yourself or your kids in a weekend ski lesson program; it will get your family out skiing together and synchronize your individual schedules around the expectation of skiing. If you have a flexible work schedule, schedule meetings in the afternoon so that you can get first chair on midweek powder days, and withhold expending your vacation days during the summer and fall in order to take more time off during ski season.
–Fitness: Skiing is a dynamic activity that requires a combination of strength, flexibility, endurance, and awareness of one’s surroundings on the hill. Avoid injury this season by adjusting your regular routine to incorporate skiing-specific exercises, and by building in activities that strengthen stabilizing muscle groups. Make sure you get beyond the gym as well; skiing requires you to constantly make decisions regarding terrain and snow–it requires proprioception, which can be hard to mimic in the confines of a fitness center. But, don’t overthink it: trail running or fast-paced hiking require similar situational awareness and will exercise the right muscle groups. Check out this great piece on Skiutah.com, featuring a conversation between sports medicine experts at the University of Utah and local skiers, which covers several interesting topics including common skiing injuries, aches and pains we all experience during the season, and recommended exercises.
–Gear: despite our best intentions to apply a coat of wax to our skis before putting them in storage for the summer, many of us pull our skis out in the fall to find the edges rusted, the bases looking rather parched, and the topsheets looking more chipped than we remember. Skis are often the least of our gear problems; ski boots, a necessary evil, can feel like they must be someone else’s the first time you stuff your feet into them each season. Remember: ski gear doesn’t last forever, and continuing to use boots with worn-down soles, bindings old enough that ski technicians won’t work on them, or skis with cracked edges could lead to serious injury. Check out Alta’s local ski shops for an expert opinion on whether to keep shredding on your current gear, or invest in an upgrade.
–Getting stoked: It’s been a long, hot summer. Celebrate the changing weather patterns by attending a ski movie premier, and get back in the habit of reading the weather forecast every day as seasons change. Here in Alta, we have a tantalizing array of custom forecast products available to help us visualize approaching storms.