If you have not seen this video, you need to watch it. It will convert you from a sunscreen-applying, grill-stoking, sunrise-before-8AM-loving summer enthusiast and make you wish you were currently watching a blizzard form in the late-afternoon twilight. Oh, and it will make you want to move to Japan, but what can you do.
People. I just realized there are only 85 days between now and the first day of ski season at our “home” resort (Copper Mountain). You are probably sitting there thinking, “It’s AUGUST! WHY would you be thinking about ski season already!?” and you are right. We still have a solid 4-6 weeks left of summer-like weather (at least), and it seems wasteful for me to already be thinking towards ski season… but I can’t help it. Last year I got 2 RUNS in the entire season. The snow was crap crap crap, and I just kept thinking, “Oh, we’ll go next weekend–there will be snow by then.” And then suddenly it was April, and there was still no snow. The snow never came. It was sad.
So this year I am already looking forward to getting on the mountain. I grew up skiing–some of my very earliest memories are obscured by the hood of my tiny fuchsia onesy with my 80cm skis in the air after being knocked over by the trademark gale-force winds at Eldora. When I was 11 I switched to snowboarding, because it was the 90s and that’s what pre-teens did in the 90s, but when I was a liftie two seasons ago I decided to switch back to skiing. After one lesson I was already convinced that I had wasted over a decade on a snowboard when I could have been on planks instead, and was able to get in almost 30 days on skis in the second half of the season. So it was especially frustrating when last year I made zero headway, and probably actually lost a lot of ground, in my quest to make up for my 11-year old self’s poor decision-making abilities.
Apart from the general lack of skiable conditions last season, there was another problem. I never made it over the early-season hump–those first few days where every turn ignites your calves and shins, where you look forward to the lift stopping mid-mountain to give your hamstrings a little extra rest, where just buckling your boot into that perpetually-flexed-ankle stance is enough to bring tears to your eyes. Maybe not everyone goes through this, like people who have spent more than a half-season skiing in the past decade. But I did, and it sucked, and it made me not want to get out and go for it without the promise of at least a little soft snow to catch me when my legs reached muscle failure, which generally happens as soon as I stand up to exit at the top of the lift.
But this year I have a plan. Starting in September, Brandon and I are going to start spending some Open Gym time working on our skiing muscles–calves, shins (How does one build shin strength? We are going to find out!), hammies, quads, glutes, core, and especially hips and knees. I imagine this will probably involve a lot of jumping lunges, some light front-rack lunges (which we did yesterday during our WOD and today my butt is almost useless), and lots of other light or bodyweight leg moves, with a little bit of heavy worked in for good measure. The goal really is to wake up those little stabilizer muscles, and to not end up in that situation where you wake up the morning after your first day on the slopes with that fun feeling of “How can I be sore in places I didn’t even know I had muscles?”
I would love some suggestions for your favorite lower-body movements. We are going to be largely making this up as we go along with lots of trial-and-error (as in what works and what doesn’t, not as in it-is-unsafe-for-me-to-be-trying-this). Are you a skier? What are your favorite pre-season moves to keep yourself from hitting burnout after three runs on your first day? Or do you just think it’s sacrilege for me to be contemplating winter in early August?