Northwest Colorado preps for ski season | CraigDailyPress.com

Northwest Colorado preps for ski season

Lauren Blair

Prepping for ski season is an important part of ski/snowboard conditioning.

Making the most of the upcoming ski season means preparing for the slopes well before the first chairlift ride of the winter.

Conditioning muscles to be ready for heavy use while skiing or snowboarding is something those in the fitness community say should begin several weeks before hitting the slopes, as evidenced by a number of ski fitness classes starting up in Craig and Steamboat Springs.

"You need to condition your body the way you plan to use it," said Mary Beth Magalis Arce, a nationally certified personal trainer who teaches a ski fitness class for employees of Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp.

Arce said that skiing and snowboarding, or "gliding sports," require a different type of conditioning than other sports.

"Gliding sports are unique in nature and require balance, agility, strength, flexibility and endurance," Arce said. "To be safe and avoid injury, it makes sense to train with sport specificity."

Karen Cuevas at Trapper Fitness in Craig recommends cardiovascular exercise for 45 to 60 minutes three times per week, in addition to strength training and flexibility exercises. A personal trainer, nutritionist and corrective exercise specialist, she already is working with clients on ski conditioning.

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"People don't think you need (cardio) for skiing and snowboarding, but you do," Cuevas said. "Number one, it helps build endurance. When you ski or snowboard, you don't want to have to stop to catch your breath."

Cuevas, who tore a rotator cuff while snowboarding once when she was out of shape, also stresses that pre-season exercise helps to prevent injuries.

"Specifically with skiers, knee injuries are really common," Cuevas said, while wrist or shoulder blade injuries are more common among snowboarders.

The final components, she said, are flexibility and core strength.

"Boarders, every time you sit down, you need core strength to get back up," Cuevas said.

Cuevas will offer a six-week ski and snowboard group personal training from 6:45 to 7:45 p.m. Wednesdays at Trapper Fitness beginning Oct.8.

One local Craig skier is gearing up for a big season. Moffat County Commissioner John Kinkaid got a season pass this year after enjoying a great winter on the slopes last year.

"I need to work on balance, and I need to work on some cardiovascular, because this summer my cardio level dropped off quite a bit," Kinkaid said.

Last winter was his first time back on skis since college he said, citing cost and other family priorities as his reason for the dry spell.

"Last year was a perfect year to pick skiing back up again because we had such a great winter," Kinkaid said. "And boy I had a lot of fun."

For those who are also concerned about cost but want to get up on the mountain for at least a few days this year, the Community Ski Club offers discounted Saturday tickets starting in January. Organized through Craig Parks and Recreation, members pay a one-time $10 membership fee and can order tickets at the beginning of the week. If at least 15 members sign up, the deal is on.

One bonus, however, that Kinkaid discovered that comes with the season pass is a free child's pass, with which he hopes to take his 3-year-old granddaughter skiing for the first time.

Citing the friendly, welcoming atmosphere on the slopes last year as a pleasant surprise, Kinkaid is looking forward this winter to "having as good a time as I did last year. And I'm hoping we get lots of snow."

Contact Lauren Blair at 970-875-1794 or lblair@CraigDailyPress.com.