Opinion » Maxed Out

Want a successful ski season?... follow these tips



Spring has sprung, summer sizzled and, finally, autumn is upon us. That can only mean one thing. I don't know what that thing is but ignorance has never been a barrier to an in-depth discussion of anything, has it?

Astronomically, we've crossed the boundary and entered the springtime of death. Leaves have stopped making chlorophyll and started making colours other than green. Red fish are filling streams and churning the tranquil waters of Sulfuric Lake, waters that have become cold enough to make summer's swimming a distant memory.

With our psychological clocks socially altered to view autumn as a beginning rather than an end — a pernicious holdover of all those years we resigned ourselves to trudging back to school after Labour Day — those of us who no longer trudge but do live in ski resorts begin to think of one thing and one thing only. Because I'm too kind to try and pull that "I-don't-know-what-that-thing-is" twice, I'll tell you what it is: ski season.

Ski season is coming and that too can only mean one thing. Getting tiresome, isn't it? OK, I won't keep you in suspense. What that means is one way or another, sooner or later, each and every one of us is going to have to face the inescapable question: Am I in shape for ski season?

It's hard to crack open a ski or snowboard magazine this time of year without being confronted with our own failures. You know what I mean: 10 Tips to Get in Shape for Ski Season, or some such drivel that more appropriately belongs in Cosmo or some other fatuous magazine designed to make you feel totally inadequate. Heed their spurious advice — and let's not forget, that piffle is written by people like me — and you'll wind up spending hours at the gym, running like a fugitive being chased by blood-thirsty hounds and torturing your core until you can't bend over to buckle your boots or bindings until sometime in January.

Unless you're already in shape, it's enough to make you move south and take up golf for the winter, a "sport" requiring absolutely no shape at all. If you're already in shape though, you're probably not wasting your time reading this; you're more likely out on your bike or skipping rope from here to Pemberton and back. Whatever, buffboy, the advice that follows isn't for you.

But if, like many of us who've enjoyed a few too many patio days and your "shape" is all in your head, take heart, you're in almost perfect shape for skiing and riding. After all, skiing and boarding are all about the downhill rush. Gravity is the engine; your body's just the brake. Master these no-sweat exercises and you'll be in perfect shape for another sliding season.

But first a word of caution. Don't fall for the go-to-the-gym-and-train-like-hell advice. I did that once. I hired a personal trainer. She fired me after two sessions, saying something about professional ethics and how my overall fitness level probably wouldn't sustain a prolonged game of Monopoly, let alone ski touring. I showed her... even though passing Boardwalk and Park Place did leave me winded.

So if you really want to be in shape for ski season, try these simple exercises.