Get In Shape for the Slopes

Old man winter—old person winter, if you want to be
contempo about it—is here like we haven’t had in many years. I have to say that
it’s been the most exciting winter sports season in recent memory.

Not only has the weather been fabulous, but I’ve seen more variety on the slopes
than ever before.  Old timers, middle aged desk jockeys, moms, dads, boys and
girls—all are out on the slopes having a ball.  This diversity is carrying over
to the forms folks are using to express their winter joy.  In addition to traditional
alpine skiing, I regularly see twin tip freestyling, alpine and freestyle boarding,
and what is turning our to be my kids’ favorites—snowblading.

But, as I’m sure many of you have noticed, having fun on the slopes comes at
a cost—especially for those of us who can’t spend a good portion of our day
hiking outside and playing sports to keep in shape.


Sure, you can ski, board or blade yourself in shape, but that really is the
hard way to do it. It’s also a way to invite injuries and just make the whole
experience a lot harder than it need be.

We’ve put together this simple fitness program that you begin anytime and do
pretty much anyplace. You don’t’ even need any special equipment for it.

Remember to consult your doctor before beginning this or any exercise program.
Also, eat reasonably, drink plenty of clear fluids (avoid soda with all its
sodium), and get enough rest.

Try these five fitness tips to get you in shape and make your alpine experience
more pleasurable.

1. General Conditioning (For fitness and body coordination)

On M-W-Fri, do the following: 15 situps, 15 crunches, 15 pushups (bent-knee
are ok). Lay on back and do: 4 alternate knee to chest (hold for 20), 4 raise
one leg and use arms to pull to stretch hamstring.

Lay on side and do: 15 leg raises, turn over and do other side.

2. Agility Practice (for ease of movement)

On M-W-Fri, do: 4 X 20 yds. of running backwards, 4 X 20 yds. (in each direction)
of side-shuffling, and 5 (each way) turning hops (stand with feet together,
jump and turn 180 degrees, landing with balance) . Try to do all of these on
soft grass or a wooden floor—and always inspect the surface you use for holes,
bumps or other irregularities
in order to avoid injury

3. Aerobic Conditioning (For your “wind”)

On T-Thurs-Sat, do: 15 minutes of exercycle, stairmaster or 15 minutes of
easy jogging on a treadmill, track, running path or mini-trampoline.

4. Anaerobic Conditioning (For your “wind” and bursts of power)

After your Aerobic workout, rest for five minutes, then: Do 5 intense high
speed bouts for 15 seconds (with 1 minute rest in-between) using whatever aerobic
exercise you used.

5. Leg Work (Ain’t it obvious?)

On T-Thurs, Sat, do: 15 Step-Downs. Balance sideways with one leg on a step.
With control and keeping knee centered over foot, lower yourself (as if your
“stepping down”) a few inches, then raise up. Repeat 15 times each leg. After
a week, add another set of fifteen. By week four, you should be able to do
4 sets of 15.

Don’t exercise the day before you ski. If you hammer the slopes on the weekend,
take Friday off so that you’ve completely recovered from any exercise fatigue
You ought to feel the benefits of this program after two weeks.

We hope this helps you feel better, move better and last longer on the slopes.
Remember: have fun out there!

Marc Cirigliano
is a 47 year master racer, all-mountain skier from western NY and an International
Sports Sciences Association certified Specialist in Sports Conditioning.. He
teaches art history, literature and general humanities at SUNY/Empire State
College in Rochester, New York.

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