BEFORE YOU ARRIVE!!
There are a number of things you can do to maximize your experience in a ski
resort, BEFORE you arrive. These suggestions are here to help. Do them and you will learn that much faster.
You do NOT need to beat yourself up physically getting ready to ski. The best exercise for skiing, is skiing! - But having
said that, you CAN do some things which will help you once you arrive.
CARDIO VASCULAR FITNESS: This is the most
important form of fitness you can do. Because of high altitude, the more internally fit you can be the better. There’s
no sense being strong if you lack stamina.
You can get your lungs fit to handle the dry air at this altitude by
any form of cardio vascular exercise, like jogging, bike riding, jumping rope and so on. Even a brisk walk each day will do
wonders for you.
Cycling is one of the best summer exercises as well as roller-blading or any form of skating.
These work on both cadio fitness and muscular development suited to skiing.
This type of fitness will help your
lungs absorb as much air and oxygen as they can and the more oxygen is in your blood, the better off the rest of you will
STRENGTH TRAINING: Your muscles will be used in ways they have not been since the last time you skied. You
can help them adjust by strengthening them as much as possible without going to extremes.
Try leaning against
a wall with your knees at a 90 degree angle and see how long you can hold it. Do a little each day until you can lengthen
the time holding that position. You can do strength training at a gym but it is more important to be able to hold a weight
in one position than it is to use heavier and heavier weights.
Hold a barbell across the back of your shoulders
with a small amount of weight on it and slowly squat down and then slowly stand up – the slower the better. A backpack
with a few house bricks in it will also work wonders. You can do the slow motion squats without weights and you will achieve
almost the same results.
Just for fun, try crab-walks. Squat down and with your hands on your hips, walk up and
down the passage way, or a set of stairs without standing up.
Stretch your calves by standing on a step and lowering
your heels below the step and rising up again - slowly of course! Do NOT push the pain barrier! You should feel the stretch,
but not pain. This exercise is especially important if you wear high heels often. Excessive high heel use allows the Achilles
Tendon to shrink. And then, when you go skiing, you will get into forward leaning ski boots and be asked to lean even
more forward - ouch!
What free skiing? There is no free skiing! There is only practice, practice,
practice! No, seriously, if you come to a ski resort with non-participating friends or family, please do not plan on
having a ski lesson in the morning and then skiing with your friends in the afternoon or meeting them for lunch.
This is the surest way to impede your improvement. After all, that’s what you’ve done in the past, and if that
was a good idea, you wouldn’t need lessons.
There is a temptation for students to show their friends and
family what they have learned during the day. This is natural but a mistake! Your friends will not understand what you have
achieved with each individual day. They WILL, however, see the difference when you have completed your lessons and have practiced
your new form for awhile.
The other people you come to Vail with can hear about your great day later on in the
evening. It will give you something to talk about with your friends.
Remember; you are participating in order
to breakthrough that barrier preventing you from becoming an Advanced Skier and nothing should get in the way of that during
the day! After graduation you will have the rest of your life for ski vacations.
WHAT TO BRING:
Ski Resorts are casual places so you don’t need to
bring anything too dressy, unless of course you would like to dress up. We are not aware of any restaurant etc., in any
ski town that has a dress code. But there are plenty of places that IF you wanted to dress well, you would not be out of place.
Think Casually Elegant and you will have no problem. Men; you do NOT need a tie or jacket anywhere! Bring them only if you
really want to.
SHOES: If you wish to wear nice shoes inside a restaurant, then carry them there in a separate
bag and change at the establishment. The plastic dry cleaning bag from your hotel room will do just nicely – it stuffs
into a jacket pocket at the restaurant as well.
For walking about in the snow, you will need shoes with chunky
soles – the chunkier the better. Any kind of hiking or work boot will do. The protection from slipping on the ice is
more important than warmth while you are walking through town. Sneakers with knobby soles will suffice if you will be walking
only on roads and sidewalks. If you are going to stand outside for a long time, or trudge through deep snow, that would be
a different matter, but for the type walking most of us will do, casual shoes will suffice. But they WILL get wet on the outside.
CLOTHES: Bring your ski clothes, especially layers. Temperatures will range from cold in December, to very cold in
January, to warm spring-like in April. You will need a wicking layer next to your skin, an insulating layer on top of that,
and then a weather protecting layer on the outside. The number of items you wear in each layer and their thickness will depend
on the weather. Don’t forget a hat and sunscreen.
STRETCH PANTS: These look great and are timelessly fashionable,
but beware of stirrups or pant legs INSIDE your boots. Stirrup pants add more seams inside your boot which are often the source
for abrasive rubbings which cause pain, small injuries, blisters, and lack of performance. Pants inside the boot also allow
melted snow to enter the boot via the exposed cuff.
The only things which should be inside your boots are your
feet and a taught sock – nothing else! Stretch pants are great if worn on the OUTSIDE of your boot. One of the surest
ways you can tell a beginner skier are the stretch pants inside boots (they are right up there with rear-entry boots and no
hat in a snow storm). Stretch pants give a good look in the lodge, restaurant, or lift line, but the best look on the hill
is how you ski.
SOCKS: These are often overlooked but are vitally important on a ski vacation. Socks do NOT keep
your feet warm in ski boots – the liner of the boot does. Your socks are there to wick moisture away from your skin
and to protect your feet from rubbing against the inside of the boot.
Try to use fabrics which are designed to
wick moisture away yet also add insulation properties to your feet. Most ski-specific socks will do this but buy from good
bootfitters rather than department stores. Smartwool makes an excellent product as do other manufacturers.
a single, medium-weight, DRY sock, pulled up firmly over your calf. There MUST be NO wrinkles in your socks at all!!! –
especially where the boot tongue contacts your shin!
The wearing of multiple socks is a left-over habit from rental
boots but with proper fitting boots they are unnecessary. If you wear 2 or 3 pairs of socks, they will allow your foot to
move around too much in the boot robbing you of performance, and they will prevent the liner of the boot from doing it’s
best job of insulation. Also, they will retain moisture and wet feet mean cold feet.
They also have the tendency
to wrinkle inside your boot causing abrasive pressure points against your skin leading to possible sores and blisters. Multiple
socks might be a habit from rental boot days, but with custom fitted boots they are dangerous.
Make sure you put
your boots on while they are still warm and dry from being overnight in your room. Never put on cold boots or store them outside
or in a car. Try foot powder to keep your feet extra dry if necessary.
Many people have cold feet because their
legs are too cold. You need warm blood circulating in your feet to keep them warm. If your blood has to travel through cold
legs, it will arrive cold at your feet (well, not medically, but the analogy is true). Try adding more layers onto your legs.
If you suffer from cold feet, try neoprene covers or the chemically activated foot warmers – they
really do work. But contrary to the directions written on the packet, do NOT put them under your feet. Instead, apply them
to the top of your feet near your toes.
If you put them under your foot, you run the risk of burning your foot
and also they then create a lump under your foot which is uncomfortable and reduces performance. The top of your foot offers
the most comfort and warming. Hand warmers are also available for your gloves.