If your legs, heart, lungs, and core aren't ready for the 30+ days you're going to spend racing from Lone Peak all the way to the base area, it's not too late to start. Here are some tips I always like to follow for getting into ski shape, especially because you can do them at home.
1) Wall sits, wall sits, wall sits
With or without weights on my legs, wall sits get me ready for the ski season. I (attempt) 3 sets at 60 seconds each at first and work my way up from there. I bet by ski season I'll be doing 3 sets of 10 minutes (wishful thinking).
2) Medicine Ball Throws
I use whatever weight medicine ball I feel comfortable with for that day and start with a squat and then extend my legs up tossing the medicine ball above my head. At home modification: jumping squats, fully extending my legs after each squat and jumping while reaching up toward the ceiling.
3) Medicine Ball Abs
P90X friend, Tony Horton calls these Russian Twists. I use a hand weight or a medicine ball and do 3 sets of 30 Russian Twists. Or without a medicine ball: 3 sets of 50.
4) Lunges: Side and Regular
3 sets of 10 regular lunges and 3 sets of 10 side lunges. If I'm at the gym or have weights at home, I put weights in both hands to get that extra boost.
5) Football Fast Feet
I run in place on the balls of my feet as fast as I can for 15 seconds, repeating for 3 sets with 30 second breaks between each set.
6) Two-leg Hops
I use a foursquare pattern with tape or my imagination for this one. Hopping with both legs, I use one square as home base, always hopping back to that one. I hop forward then back to home base, then sideways and back to home base, then diagonally and back to home base, doing this for 25 seconds. I usually repeat for 3 sets taking 30 second breaks between each set.
I recommend this workout every other day, with an emphasis on cardio on the off days. Or I'll mix it into a cardio workout and split it into 2 groups of 3. There's a plethora of ski workouts to get into, but only one Big Sky Resort to test out that ski-shape. And there's no time like today to start planning that winter trip out here. What is all this working out for if not to cash it in on the mountain?
Getting ready for the next day's adventures starts today ... at the Solace Spa and Salon. Upon my second visit to Big Sky Resort's Spa, this time to get those unruly bangs out of my eyes, I noticed two great things: 1) Going to the spa is relaxing and refreshing no matter where you schedule it in your day and 2) I've never had a hair stylist who I can ask about split ends, and about shredding the Big Couloir.
Having just come from work, a scalp rub, shampoo and trim was as relaxing as a massage might have been. Don't underestimate the power of just letting someone else do your hair. I also find a good facial just before a haircut relaxing. Opening up the pores after a long day exposed to the sun or sitting in an office makes me feel cleaner. The atmosphere at the Solace Salon is vastly different from what you'll find at a salon in New York or LA. Not to say that blasting Madonna, celebrity gossip and waiting hours for your appointment aren't what we've grown to love and expect from salons, but at Solace Salon the quieter, folksy guitar tunes, powder stash gossip, and on-time appointments make for a pleasant trip to the hair stylist and ensure that I'll be going back.
After the stunning hair cut from Sarah, I ventured into the chilly fall temperatures for an evening outside. Normally I would make sure to schedule a haircut before a night out or schedule spa day after a day of activities, it turns out a trip to the spa does wonders no matter where you put it in your day.
Get ready to look amazing this winter season at Big Sky Resort.
Pond Skims have become a spring staple at many winter resorts - skiers and riders try their luck gliding down a ski slope and then across an icy pond.
But at Big Sky Resort, the annual Pond Skim is a ritual in creativity and daring, pushing the boundaries of a ski culture classic. Last weekend, Big Sky pulled it off again, with these key ingredients for the perfect Pond Skim.
Big Sky's pond is never just a pond. Every year the shape and approach are a surprise - participants tackle double ponds, giant kicker entries, and s-curves. 2012 brought the most elaborate pond yet: a tetris-piece shaped pond with two separate entry points, a jump, and endless skimming path combinations.
Ballerina, banana, giant ape, beach babe - skimmers don't skimp on wild attire. And neither does the crowd.
Rules are, there are no rules - Big Sky encourages the unexpected. Daffys, 360s, ski and water ballet moves are all fair game.
Over 100 skiers and riders skimmed to the tune of thousands of cheering spectators this year. And every spring it gets bigger and crazier. There's just something about standing in a sea of neon onesies that makes you feel like you're part of something bigger.
We've known Jessica Biel rips since she descended the North Summit Snowfield last winter on a trip to Big Sky - how else do you think she keeps those shapely gams and derriere in perfect Hollywood condition? Now, she's taking her snowboarding to the next level and taking an avi course - not a bad idea with so many early season slides this winter.
We're not usually ones to flaunt our celebrity skiers, but with Jessica touting Big Sky as one of her go-to mountains to fellow skier David Letterman, we'll take this cue from Jessica: In or out of bounds, skiers need to be prepared. Jessica has the savvy to educate herself on the necessary precautions to take on the mountain, and it's not a bad idea to follow suit.
Big Sky Resort works hard to manage avalanches in-bounds, but it's always good to carry an avalanche beacon, shovel, and probe, and know how to use them wherever you're skiing. And front, side, or backcountry, remember to never go alone. Again, not a bad idea - especially when your next ski partner for the Big Couloir could be none other than Jessica Biel.
Two years after a life-threatening ski accident, I hiked the A-Z Chutes with Trevor, the snowboarder who saved me
It was two years ago that Trevor and I first met, and though the moment is still quite vivid, I didn't remember his face or his name. I was too preoccupied with what had just happened - I'd crashed into a tree near the Natural Half-Pipe, and I didn't even register who was asking for my cell phone, calling ski patrol, and sitting with me as we waited for professional medical help to arrive.
In the hospital days later, I got a Facebook friend request from a Pennsylvanian teen. His name was Trevor, and he wanted to know if I was OK after my accident - he was the one who had found me, saved my life, really. He had noticed a photo of me hiking the A-Z Chutes at Big Sky. He'd never skied them, but asked if I might take him when I got better.
After months of recovery time, I did get better, and made a point to get back on the slopes. But post-accident I wear my avalanche beacon on Mr. K, avoid most glades, and head in whenever light gets flat; I've challenged myself by getting back out there. Deep down, I'm still a scaredy-skier.
But when Trevor told me he was coming to Big Sky this winter, I knew our mission would be to ski the expert sidecountry A-Z Chutes. It was a beautiful bluebird powder day, and we hiked the ridge with determination, stopping at a gnarly run called Castle Rock. Teetering on the ridge, my heart was racing. But skiing with Trevor had me feeling emboldened, and my nervousness turned into whoops of excitement as we hit wide powder turns.
Then we went cliff hucking, something I generally avoid. Trevor got ready to hit Big Rock like a pro as I inched up to the edge of the smaller drop, and hesitated. "You've got this," Trevor said, and I pushed off, proceeding to get the least amount of air in the history of cliff hucks, my ski tips hitting the snow straight-on and immediately ejecting me from their bindings. I tumbled through the powder, but found myself laughing in delight as I self-arrested; falling didn't have to be scary. It could be really, really fun.
Then Trevor suggested we ride the trees. I'm much more wary of tree runs these days, but I thought about whom I was skiing with - when it comes to life saving abilities concerning tree-related ski accidents, Trevor has definitely proved his worth. So into the powdery glades I went, and Trevor made sure to stop and check on me every so often as I took my time weaving through the once menacing-looking trunks.
We came out unscathed and smiling, exhilarated. I couldn't help but put my arms out and turn my face to the sun as we slid back down to the base area, soaking in the feeling that with Trevor's help, I was gaining back my confidence. I had been afraid of hugging another tree. Instead, I hugged Trevor.
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