Salt Lake City, UT – Snow has been falling across North America, and although slopes are opening from east to west it’s not too late to get in shape for skiing or riding. Being prepared for skiing and snowboarding — physically and mentally — can make the difference between a good season and a great one. It’s time for those planning to join the millions who enjoy skiing and boarding every season to start getting ready for a healthy and fun 200708. Before you start sliding, here are a few tips to help you prepare for a great experience.
Get In Shape: Don’t try to ski or board yourself into shape. You’ll enjoy the sports more if you’re fit. Off-season training improves ability and decreases incidence of injury, so start training now — try yoga or pilates to strengthen the core, biking for cardiovascular exercise, squats for leg strength, or plyometrics for conditioning.
Think About Gear: Get your skis and boards tuned and ready. Make sure boots and bindings are in good shape. If buying new clothes, look for fabric that’s water and wind resistant and avoid cotton. Make sure you have quality eyewear and clothes for changing conditions. (A good gear/clothing guide for beginners is Ron LeMaster’s book 201 Things Every Skier Should Know by Velo Press.)
Once on the slopes, keep these pointers in mind:
Start Planning: Many resorts offer great lodging and skiing/riding deals pre- and early-season. Check out the websites of your favorite ski areas to purchase a season pass or look for discounted day rates. Also think about signing up early for a lesson…or three. Surveys show that three lessons can be more effective than one, and many resorts are offering deals on multi-lesson packages. Progressive programs have also become common, especially for freestyle and park learning.
Dress in Layers and be Prepared for Changing Weather: Layering allows you to accommodate your body’s changing temperature. Try wicking synthetic underwear that absorbs dampness and dries quickly. Layer with a waterproof or water-resistant jacket — the latest soft shell technology is popular. Also, be prepared for changing weather by carrying extra clothing.
Stretch: Take a few minutes in your room or in the parking lot to stretch out before the first lift ride.
Wear sun protection: The sun reflects off the snow and is stronger than you think, even on cloudy days. Sunburned skiers and boarders are a common sight. You might keep a small tube of sunscreen in your pocket—if not for you, for less-prepared people in the lift line.
Drink Water and Curb Alcohol Consumption: Altitude sickness is fairly common at elevation. Drink plenty of water — more than you normally would — and curb alcohol consumption, which can lead to dehydration. Caffeine can also contribute to dehydration.
Eat: You’ll exert a lot of energy skiing or boarding. Prepare by carrying snacks with you or plan to stop during the day for lunch or snacks at an on-slope restaurant. Easy-to carry and protein-filled nuts, Snickers bars, jerky or energy bars are always good choices.
Know Your Limits: Ski and board where you feel comfortable. Study a trail map or grooming report, and ask friends or resort staff questions about terrain. If you’re tired, stop skiing. Accidents often happen on that “last run” when your legs feel like Jell-O but you decide to keep going anyway.
Know the Responsibility Code: The seven safety rules of the slopes:
- Always Stay in Control;
- People Ahead of you have the right of way;
- Stop in a safe place for you and others;
- Whenever starting downhill or merging, look uphill and yield;
- Use devices to help prevent runaway equipment;
- Observe signs and warnings, and keep off closed trails;
- Know how to use lifts safely.
Smart Style: Use terrain parks properly by following these four messages:
- Make A Plan
- Look Before You Leap
- Respect Gets Respect
- Easy Style It