Outside with Charlie: Stamina’s the key

By From page A6 | February 20, 2013

“More snow please.” Apparently, that plea worked. There’s a nice new layer of the white fluffy slippery stuff up in the high country. We really need it, and more. “There’s too much snow!” is a term I don’t understand.

The resorts, skiers, and boarders are thrilled with the new snow. Snow, like many things, is best when it is fresh but not too deep.

When the powder is up past your knees and you don’t have fat boy skis, skiing becomes a labor of love — one which puts your stamina and the ability of your thighs to function to a severe test.

Fat boy skis, an old term, are simply wider than normal and tend to float over the snow rather than sink deeply into it.

Still, any day on the snow is good, even if you wisely take a seat in the lodge at noon, because you have no choice, according to the howling of your legs.

If you’ve been skiing since the start of the season, your ski legs are probably in pretty good shape and if you’re a back country telemark or randonee skier, you’re probably in very good shape.

It’s important to understand what your limits are when you’re on skis or a board. Every time you ski or board, you build some stamina and strength, and hopefully, more skills.

Keeping a good level of fitness is important. Cycling, walking, running, swimming, are all good, and all use different muscles. Because you are able to walk for hours doesn’t necessarily transfer to stamina on the slopes.

The constant up and down motion you go through while carving turns down the hill puts the most stress on your thighs. Anyone who skis or boards knows full well what the term “My thighs feel like they are on fire!” means.

The reason you pay attention to the level of fatigue in your legs is this: Control. No one wants to be anywhere near an out of control skier or boarder out on the slopes. It makes no difference if you are on the bunny hill or a double black diamond peppered with moguls. Out of control skiers are just plain dangerous to everyone.

If you are over tired, stop, go to the lodge and take a seat. Stay off the slopes until you are rested. Everyone will appreciate it, even if they don’t audibly thank you while you schuss past them, instead of into them.

Pay attention, ski safely, ski often. Get outside!

Charlie Ferris

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