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There's more to tune up than just your skis

Be prepared before you hit the slopes
By: Jeffrey Weidel
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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?

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 areas to focus your energies. 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 are ready to go after sitting in the garage all summer collecting dust. 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 skiweidel@yahoo.com. Visit his winter website at/www.examiner.com/x-26607-SF-Skiing-Examiner.

FYI

 

Preparation the Key

Handy tips to help get ready for the season:

·           Conditioning: You will enjoy the sport more if you are in proper shape

·           Check Your Gear: Get skis or board tuned. Also check boots, clothing and other essentials

·           Stretch: Take a moment before that first run to make sure your body is loose

·           Know Your Limits: Proceed with caution early in the season. Work on form, not speed