For many of us, that winter chill in the air can only mean one thing — ski and snowboard season is right around the corner.
In our haste for fresh powder, it’s easy to forget the vigorous demands a day on the slopes brings. Why not make this the year you prepare for it?
In conjunction with your current fitness routine, add these exercises and you’ll feel more like master of the mountain this season.
Stand with tall posture, and contract your core muscles. Slowly lift one leg 4 to 6 inches off the ground while maintaining balance and posture. Balance for one minute, and repeat on the opposite leg.
Stand and balance on your right leg with your core contracted. Hop sideways to your left side, squatting down and touching the ground across your body with your right arm. Stay low with your chest out and quickly spring back to your right side, repeating the same move, touching down with your left arm. With control, continue this sequence for 20 to 30 repetitions.
Stand slightly behind a 12- to 24-inch box or platform. Squat down, and quickly jump on top of the box. Try to land softly, sinking your hips as you land. Step off the box and repeat for 10 to 15 repetitions. For an added challenge, jump continuously on and off the box for the same number of repetitions.
Position your body perpendicular to a flat bench. Place your hands just outside your hips. Lift your hips up and slightly away from the bench, maintaining tall posture. Keep your heels on the ground and your legs straight. Staying upright, slowly lower yourself toward the ground until both arms are bent at a 90-degree angle. Push yourself back to an upright position. Repeat for 10-15 repetitions. For an easier option, bend your legs at a 90-degree angle and repeat the same movement.
V-Sit with medicine ball figure eights
Sit upright, and recline a few inches while maintaining good posture. Support your body weight using your bottom while keeping your chest out, shoulders back and abdominals contracted. Hold a 4- to 8-pound medicine ball in front of you and slowly move the ball in a -figure-eight pattern while rotating your -torso. Repeat for 10 repetitions per side.
Lie on your side. Keep your body in a straight line with your legs stacked on top of one another. Prop your arm underneath your body, resting on your forearm. Position your opposite hand onto your hip. Contract your abs, and slowly lift your hips toward the ceiling until your body is positioned straight from head to toe. Hold for 2-4 seconds, then slowly lower your hips to the floor. Repeat for 10 to 15 repetitions before switching sides. For an easier option, bend your legs at a 90-degree angle while performing the exercise.
Jason Wanlass, the owner of Champion Fitness Training in Meridian, has more than 20 years of experience in the fitness industry. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or championfit.net. He writes a monthly fitness column for Idaho Statesman. Another version of this story ran on Nov. 9, 2009.
More exercises to get in ski shape
Cycling: Hit the trail, or a stationary bike, for a cardio workout that strengthens the leg muscles you’ll need on the slopes. Do quick intervals to condition for sudden bursts of energy.
Squatting: Squat and walk sideways, placing weight on the inside of your legs, to mimic skiing movements.
Balance: Stand on your toes, bend one leg back and hold it. Stand on your toes, lean to the left and right and hold it.
Jumping: Hop from side to side over an object, with knees bent, landing and springing on one foot at a time.
Stretching: Stretch for 10 minutes before exercising or hitting the slopes. Yoga is great for improving flexibility for skiing.
The latest on snow at ski areas
Season total: 16 inches
Base depth: 10
Forecast: Highs in 30s and low 40s this week. Rain possible Wednesday; chance of snow Thursday.
Season total: 25 inches
Base depth: 11 inches
Forecast: Highs in the low 30s. Chance of snow through Friday.
Season total: Not available (5 inches Monday )
Mid-mountain depth: 10 inches
Forecast: Highs in the low 30s. Chance of snow Thursday and Friday.
Season total: 21 inches
Base depth: 6 inches
Forecast: Highs in the mid to high 30s. Rain/snow likely Thursday and Friday.