When the first morning frost hit your town, you know that ski season is right around the corner. It’s been a long summer since most of us skied last, and the first chance to ski can’t come soon enough. For those who live in the mountain west, there really hasn’t been an off season. Some of us skied the remnants of snow into August and September. But that doesn’t mean we’re all not stoked for new snow and new adventures. Whether you’re an inbounds, groomer ripper, or a backcountry powder hound, ski season is coming and it’s time to prepare.
Before you get your skis in shape with a tune and wax, it’s smart to get your body in shape first. No matter how much you ran and biked in the long summer days, chances are you lost some fitness in the fall. This results in skiing being the first strenuous activity we do in weeks or months, so you better do everything you can to get ready for it. And unlike running and biking, which are linear sports (straight lines), skiing puts more focus on the lateral, stabilizing muscles that you haven’t touched since last time you were on skis.
To get my legs and core into shape, I focus on these exercises. Half Yoga ball stabilizing, Ski Cardio Machine, Box Jumps, sprints, Squats, Lunges, and maybe even a Ski Erg for the XC days. Of course, nothing will get you into ski shape like skiing, but the idea here to get these unused muscles into an active condition before you make your first turns on snow.
Next Step is to get your gear ready. Whether you tune your own skis or have your local shop, it’s time to get those bases waxed and edges sharp. I try to get all my ski shop requests in as early as possible to beat all the beginning of the season rush. It takes a day or two for a tune, a few days to get bindings mounted, and appointments to go get your boots molded. Plan ahead so that you’re not stuck missing the first laps on the hill because your skis are still in the shop.
The last thing that needs to be refreshed before you head out skiing in the backcountry or sidecountry is your avalanche awareness and avalanche gear. Go practice beacon recovery drills with a friend to make sure your beacon is properly working after the summer. Go do a test deploy of your avalanche pack to make sure either the canister or fan is still working properly. Stay on top of the avalanche conditions from the first snowfall so that you know exactly what you’re skiing on top of.
Lastly, get stoked on all the new films that are coming out and catch up on Cody Townsend’s “The 50 Project”. The snow is coming, and it’s going to be another epic year!
My name is Zachary Kenney and I’m an adventure filmmaker & photographer. My passion is to tell stories that will hopefully motivate you to go live a more adventurous life. Whether that is to experience the view from the summit of a mountain, or wandering through a new town on a road trip. Currently based out of Park City, UT.