The mind felt willing, the body did not.
I’ve written about weight training and exercising to get fit for Fourteeners.
The same holds true for skiing down mountains.
There are many ways to try and get fit for ski season. Running, biking, weight training. You can read magazines. You can pay somebody to help motivate you. If you look around in Boulder, you’ll find all kinds of classes. The YMCA touts a ski and strength conditioning class. There’s even an Alpine Training Center that “that prepares all types of mountain athletes for all their outdoor sports and adventures.”
But I live in Nederland. The last thing I want to do is spend more time in Boulder than is absolutely necessary. I already have to go down there four days a week for work. There are no gyms in Nederland.
So we’ve cobbled together our own kind pre-season ski training work out. Using free weights, a bar bell and some DVDs, I toil away.
Lunges, squats, dead lifts, crunches. Over and over again.
I feel good, and I am ready to hit the slopes.
Two weeks ago when Bryon and I skied at Winter Park, I thought, I’ve got this.
Yesterday, not so much.
New snow overnight on Thursday left 8 inches of new snow on the slopes. By 10:30 a.m., mini moguls populated all the runs, even the green runs.
Good skiing requires you to activate your quads and glutes in a way that you just don’t do in ordinary daily life. You can run, bike and lift weights until the cows come home, and nothing will make that first full day of hard skiing easy.
To be able to absorb the uneven terrain, to tip and turn the skis, and pressure them requires a lot of muscle strength. Mikaela Shiffrin may make it look easy, but don’t fool yourself. Us mere mortals aren’t built that way.
You can try to conserve energy by skiing lazy, choosing to “bank” your turns, rather than the constant “sit” position. But bad skiing has even worse repercussions for the body. The carnage was all over Larry Sale (ski run at Winter Park) . Skiers who were just barely intermediates trying to negotiate what looked like on the trail map to be a nice blue cruiser run. But throw in that 8 inches of new snow, and it’s no longer that forgiving groomed out trail. People were going down like boxers down for the count everywhere I looked as they tried to maneuver between the moguls.
Determined to ski well, by 1 p.m., my thighs were aching. By 2 p.m., they were burning. Sitting on the Gondola, I felt wiped out. The ultimate in humility came when they opened some terrain “off-piste” that hadn’t been groomed out by the giant snow cats. I picked a steeper run. A steeper run will help provide more gravity to smash through the foot of snow. Instead, I ski into a flat area, hit the new snow, and almost launch right out of my ski boots. It took me 10 minutes just to get myself upright again.
So yes, I’ve been properly humbled by the beginning of the ski season.
The good news, I’m sufficiently recovered today to subject myself to another dose of quad burning, glue busting, sliding down a hill tomorrow.