How To Prepare for Winter - Article for Sisu Magazine
“Smell that? Winter’s coming.” It might be my favorite season. The wonderful, glorious time of year when the temps drop, and that white stuff falls out of the sky. I love winter. I love when that first dusting of snow covers the ground, with the anticipation of bigger dumps to come. I love sitting by a warm fire with hot chocolate, I love dark crisp nights where you are bundled up walking through the snow with it crunching below your feet, I love snowboarding, that feeling of freedom, hootin and hollering with your friends down the slopes, I love the quiet of the mountains, and their ever changing landscape with their fresh blankets of snow, I love sticking my tongue out as the fresh snow falls from the sky lapping it up like flakes of sugar. Just typing this list of loves makes me stoked for winter, but If you’re not a winter person (and would like to be), or winter is your new favorite season, I’ve put together some tips for you on how to prepare for winter and ski/snowboard season to have the best one yet!
Hit the Gym or the Trail (most important!)
Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean you can drink all the hot chocolate, eat all the holiday goodies, and forget all about your fitness. It’s crucial to be in winter season shape if you’re the type of person that’s either going to be charging big mountain lines, cruising groomers, or even snowshoeing around winter wonderlands. Keeping the body in balance is essential for overall winter sport performance. Between high-intensity interval workouts, lower intensity running cardio for stamina, yoga for the core, and plyometric workouts like jump squats, jump lunges, etc. a combination of these types of workouts will help build strength, balance, mobility, and flexibility. Keeping in mind that training in the gym or outside can not only help turn you into a better athlete but also help with injury prevention (keeping those knees in good condition) which is pivotal for an all-around healthy ski and winter season.
There are 4 buckets you should focus on when getting ready for winter activities:
Strengthening through body weight exercises such as lunges, bridges or squats with both or one leg, is a must for any snowboarder or skier
Wall sits are a classic winter sport tool. The best way to start is to sit against a wall with legs parallel to the floor. Start with 30 seconds. As your legs get stronger, increase the duration. You can then add weight.
Lateral monster walks with elastic tubing. These help fire the glutes, which helps prevent the back from doing all the work while skiing. Place a band around the ankles or calves, get into a crouched stance and walk side-to-side while maintaining proper alignment (toes forward, knees straight, butt back).
Try this four-part leg blaster of a workout that combines lunges and squats to gain more power and control.
Perform a full set—squats, alternating lunges, jump lunges, and jump squats—then rest for 15 seconds. Repeat six times.
Squats: Standing with your feet a little more than shoulder-width apart, lower into a seated position until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Keep your heels grounded and your knees behind your toes. Maintain a strong core and hold your arms by your hips for alignment. Repeat 10 to 20 times.
Alternating Lunges: Set your feet shoulder-width apart and step forward with your left foot into a lunge. Keep your left leg bent at 90 degrees, and your right knee almost touching the ground behind you. Pushing off your front heel, return to the starting position with your feet apart. Repeat on the right leg. Do 10 to 20 reps for each leg.
Jump Lunges: Perform a lunge with your left leg forward. Then jump up and switch legs in the air, landing with your right foot in front of you and your left foot back. Repeat 10 to 20 reps for each leg.
Jump Squats: Squat and then shift weight from your heels to the balls of your feet to explode upward before landing softly on the ground. Do five to ten reps.
Chair Dips - a great and convenient way to work your triceps. Think about helping yourself up after a fall or a short break on the hill. S
Push Ups - The standard push up focuses on strengthening the triceps and shoulders, the wide pushup works more on chest strength. Start out on your knees. Body should still stay straight and tight throughout. Do a set of 12 repetitions, and build to two or three sets
hold a plank on your elbows and either toes or knees for 60-90 seconds for 3 repetitions.
Sit on the ground and lean up slightly with your knees and hips bent at a 90-degree angle. Grab a dumbbell or weight plate and hold it with bent arms away from your chest. With your feet off the floor, engage your core and rotate your upper body as far as you can to the right, touching the weight to the ground. Return to the center and then twist to the other side. One repetition is a twist to each side. Do three rounds of 10 to 20 reps.
Winter sports put us into some pretty physically demanding positions and our bodies need to be able to bend in ways we might not have thought possibly. Being flexible in our hamstrings, quads and trunk is one way to help prevent injury!
In order to prepare our bodies for the type of work snow sports require of our bodies we need to, in a way, practice it! Running hills, stairs or practicing jumping will help us prepare for the impact of skiing.
Try - Burpees Exercises for that all around body workout
Balance exercises help stabilize your core and strengthen your hip and thigh muscles which are an important part in keeping your knees stable and preventing knee injuries during winter sports
Try these balance exercises for stability:
The Jane Fonda - This four-part exercise activates your gluteus maximus, minimus, and medius to improve your balance.
Perform the series for two rounds of 30 seconds each on the ground. Then switch sides to work the other leg.
First, lie down on your right side with your right arm tucked beneath your head. Raise your left leg and lower it on the floor behind your right leg.
Next, bring your left knee to your chest, while focusing on contracting your core.
Then, starting from a straight-legged position, kick your left leg behind you to your rear. Finally, make clockwise circles with your left leg.
After 15 seconds, switch to a counter-clockwise direction. Switch sides and repeat the circuit.
Single-Leg Deadlifts - This body-stabilizing exercise works your glutes, hamstring, and core, and enhances balance while also building ankle stability.
Standing upright, extend your hands and slowly lean forward, leading with your chest.
Slowly lift one leg out behind you, and keep you base leg slightly bend to maintain balance.
While slowly leaning over, keep your back leg straight and in-line with your torso. Remember to take a deep breath in as you go forward and exhale as you return to a standing position. Do six reps. Then repeat on the opposite leg.
EXTRA CREDIT - to create more instability, which will make you work harder, add a squishy balance pad or Bosu ball.
2. Get Your Gear Dialed
Make a checklist and take inventory of your gear and what needs to be updated and replaced
Score retail deals - Ski & Snowboard Shops display last season’s clothing and gear at major discounts: 40-70%.
Check out ski and snowboard magazine gear guides for all the latest new gear hitting the market (especially Coalition Snow Skis featured in Powder Magazine’s 2018 Guide)
For Backcountry Chargers - make sure you change out your beacon/transceiver batteries.
Get those snow tires (and chains) ready! With almost any adventure in the mountains whether it’s Colorado blizzards or New England nor’easters, you will most likely encounter snow. Either change your tires out to snow tires or get some All Season ones which also perform well in most weather situations.
Make Mr. Miyagi Proud - Wax and Tune those skis and snowboards!
Backcountry has a great guide for how to tune and wax your board at home: https://www.backcountry.com/explore/snowboard-tuning-in-8-easy-steps
Or bring your skis and boards to your local shop and ask for a wax and tune - it’ll usually run you $20-$50 depending on the work needed to be done on your gear.
3. What Passes Should You Buy:
Epic - The original game changer brought to you by Vail Resorts. Giving you access to 68 resorts local and abroad starting at $929
Mountain Collective - Ski & Explore 16 Mountains Around The World. 2 Days At Each starting at $449
Ikon - The Newcomer for the 18/19 winter season - Ikon pass rivals the epic giving you unlimited access to 12-14 reports (depending on if you purchase the base or full pass) + limited access to 21 destinations - giving you 36 options to choose from for your skiing and snowboarding pleasure. Starting at $699
Lift Tickets - If you’re not planning an extended ski trip where one of the passes above would pay for itself with 5 mountain visits, another way to save is bundling lift tickets and purchasing at least one week ahead – but earlier if possible. Check out Liftopia.com for tickets.
4. Book a Getaway
Choose a weekend getaway:
If you’re not ready to book a week long ski vacation, consider organizing a weekend trip.
Check out resort calendars for spring break concert series and festivals when booking.
Could be a way to add an element of fun + could add higher prices for lodging. Potentially look for package deals during one of these events
It’s hard to plan ahead for ski trips as the weather can be fickle, but booking flights early is advisable as most popular (and convenient) flights are the priciest and book up fast.
Pro Tip! Check to see if the resorts you are flying into is offering a “Ski for Free the Same Day You Fly Deal”
Make it a road trip. No bag fees here!
Look into lodging
Know your options (hint: they don’t just include hotel rooms and condos). Find private homes and rooms to rent using VRBO, Airbnb which are a great options for traveling with friends and family.
Connect with friends.
I find the age old saying no friends on a powder day to be decidedly false. Ski vacations are better with friends, especially when it comes to splitting slopeside mansions
5. Netflix and Chill
Now that you’re in ski season shape, have dialed in your gear, and have planned a getaway, it’s time to turn the stoke level to high with some ski porn to take your froth over the edge
New for 2018
Teton Gravity Research – Far Out Film
You are on the quest to be blown away.
Matchstick Productions – All In
This is a ski flick for everyone with a cast of characters that include Angel Collinson, Michelle Parker, Tatum Monod, Elyse Saugstad, Mark Abma, Wiley Miller, Johnny Collinson, and Cody Townsend. This film embodies the spirit of past Matchstick films with high-action ski segments, visually stunning imagery and engaging humor.
Warren Miller - Face of Winter
The 69th installment from Warren Miller Entertainment, will bring new and veteran athletes alike together to pay tribute to the man who started it all.
Teton Gravity Research – Ode To Muir Film
Professional snowboarder, adventurer and founder of Protect Our Winters Jeremy Jones and two-time Olympian Elena Hight embark on a 40-mile foot-powered expedition deep into California’s John Muir Wilderness.
Aspen Extreme -“Top Gun on the ski slopes”
Hot Dog: The Movie - rated R for Radical
Ski School - As Dave Marshak says “Skiing is partying, partying is skiing.”
Ski Patrol - Classic good guys vs. bad guys
Out Cold - Zach Galifiankis playing an injury-ridden snowboard bum? Count me in
G.N.A.R - are you the best skier on the mountain?
The Blizzard of AAHHH’s - I mean Glen Plake
Pretty Faces - all female ski film showing chicks ripping badass lines in dreamy places, inspiring women to live up to their true potential.
Full Moon - a two-year project documenting the past, present and future women's snowboarding with the top female backcountry snowboarders.
That’s It That’s All and Art of Flight - changed the game of snowboard movies using state of the art techniques and technologies that hadn’t been used before
Vallhalla - a rare and wonderfully ambitious attempt to raise the artistic stakes of the ski movie genre
6. Get Stoked!
Last and certainly not least, which I believe is actually the second most important tip on this list. When your stoke factor is high you feel that excitement, that energy, the pull of the mountains, and all the possibilities of the pure unadulterated fun you could will have this winter. I can already see the smile forming, that bounce in your step because the mountains are calling, and you must go!