It happens every year. No matter how excited I am for the season, it always creeps up on me a little faster than expected. Especially when it comes to getting ready for it, and honestly in more ways than one. But in this instance, I’m talking about getting in shape for the slopes. Snowboarding is my favorite sport, and I’ve usually considered that to be my exercise for the winter time. But that leaves over six months of trying to figure out what else I should be doing to keep myself healthy and ready for the next season.
My first winter in Vermont, I wasn’t quite used to the terrain that Sugarbush has to offer, so after about 8 months of off season (ski/ride seasons were a little bit shorter from where I moved from), I headed straight down Organgrinder for my first Sugarbush run. Although I was excited to be back on the hill, it was a QUICK reality check when my thigh muscles locked up and I had to take about three or four heavy breathing breaks on the side of the trail to get all the way down. As embarrassed as I was with myself, it was a lesson for future seasons – some pre-season training and warmups are important! As a disclaimer, I’m no expert, but I’ve learned some things along the way that have helped me prepare for winter, and I’m hopeful that they’ll help you too!
Don’t Avoid the Hills
I used to walk a lot and then worked my way up to hiking and running. I’m all about the baby steps. But regardless of what I was doing, I always avoided hills, and always checked the elevation gain and distance on my hikes (to make sure I wasn’t signing myself up for anything crazy). While everyone has to start somewhere, a little bit of elevation definitely goes a long way. Running isn’t for everyone and I get that, so choosing walking routes with some hills (big or small) thrown in really helps get the heart rate up and kicks you into shape. It also makes riding down a mountain feel a whole lot easier.
I hate stretching, always have. But I do ALWAYS feel a difference before and after my workouts and riding when I stretch. If you’re looking for some skier specific stretches, warm-ups and cool-downs, YouTube is chock full of videos to help you out.
Strength & Mobility Exercises
Burton put out a blog a few years ago that I go back and reference to prep for every ski and ride season. These short, but helpful workouts always have me feeling a little bit stronger as I get ready for the winter ahead. The best part? They can all be done at home and the only equipment needed is yourself… and maybe a chair!
Hit the Gym
The weather is getting colder, so obviously walking and running outside is no longer for the faint of heart. But the good news is, Sugarbush has a gym right on resort! The Sugarbush Health and Recreation Center has a full gym, pool for laps, and will soon be offering fitness classes. Purchase a season long membership or just a few day passes depending on your needs and availability, and you’ll be ready for the slopes in no time. And don’t forget that you need to make a reservation currently.
Also, if you’re looking for online personal training, one of Sugarbush’s own employees, Julia, is a certified nutritionist and personal trainer and has been kicking my butt (in the best way possible) to get me feeling strong and ready for the winter season. No matter how you choose to prepare, we hope you are gearing up and getting ready for the fun-filled winter on the slopes. See you out there!