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• Conditioning: Get in proper shape
• Stretch: Make sure your body is loose
• Know Your Limits: Proceed with caution. Work on form, not speed
• Check Your Gear: Get skis/board tuned. Check boots/clothing/essentials
Aside from Boreal, which is already up and running, Lake Tahoe ski resorts are doing their preparatory work as the season rapidly approaches and the lifts start running full-time.
The lingering question for snowboarders and skiers: What have you done to prepare for the season at Tahoe resorts?
Hopefully a fitness base, especially an aerobic one, is already in place. But if not, you’re in luck, because it’s never too late to get in ski shape.
The core areas, recognized as the lower back, hips, abdominals, pelvis and groin, are the ones to focus upon. Have them ready and the chances of muscle fatigue and ultimately injury, drops dramatically. Core exercises include crunches, trunk rotations and pelvic tilt.
The next stage is adding lunges or squats to the regimen. Both can be done with or without light weights and help condition the upper and lower legs.
Because active skiers and riders need both strength and speed, plyometric exercises are recommended. Try the suggested exercises below, doing 10 repetitions each.
• Squat jumps: Squat down to the ground, then quickly explode upward as high as possible.
• Hopping: Do 10 hops on one leg, and 10 on the other.
• Two-legged jumps: Jump as far forward as possible.
• Chair jumping: Jump on and off of a chair, stair or bench.
Cardiovascular exercise is a must, so don’t neglect it; get that heart rate going regularly. Running regularly will definitely help and so will other good conditioning exercises like treadmill or elliptical work.
Cycling, either outdoors or on a stationary bike, is a great way to train as well. A 15-minute run or 30 minutes on the bike or treadmill three times a week will make a noticeable difference for any level snow enthusiast.
An area that’s frequently overlooked is flexibility. Any athlete, young or old, can benefit from a regular stretching program. Stretching is a great weapon to battle both soreness and injury, especially annoying minor ones. For skiers and riders, stretching can also be the best protection in the event of a fall.
Back, ankles, hamstrings and groin are all areas that should be loose, so begin a stretching program now and also do it right before slipping into skis or a board for the day.
The body needs special attention, but don’t forget to include another key area – equipment. Don’t assume that skis, board or boots that have sat in the garage all summer collecting dust are ready to go. Check them thoroughly. How do the boots fit? Are the bindings secured? Do the skis need a coat of wax?
The last issue to consider, especially on those first few ski visits is safety. A measure of caution is always the way to go. Take it slow, particularly on early morning runs. Establishing good technique is the prime concern, not speed.
And don’t keep going when the legs are getting weary. Understand when enough is enough. This becomes a major concern late in the day when fatigue sets in and injuries are more likely to occur.
Jeffrey Weidel can be reached at [email protected] Visit his winter Website at tahoeskiworld.com.