Gear for post-skiing recovery: 3 products to soothe tired feet, muscles and backs after a day on the mountain
Special to Everything Vail Valley
Spending a full day shredding on the mountain is no joke. Unless you’re one of those springy youngsters (I’m looking at you, 8-year-old rippers), chances are your legs, feet, back and other assorted muscles are at least a little sore, if not full-on yelling. There are various ways to recover — a massage is nice, as is soaking in a hot tub if you have access to one — but for those on the go (or who would rather avoid the bubbling germ factory on the deck), there’s another option: recovery clothing. From shoes to pants, here’s what to try to make first chair a little more comfortable.
NormaTec Pulse Leg Recovery System
NormaTec calls these “boots,” but as they cover you from foot to hip, they look more like pants (there are also hip and arm packages, too, but the leg version is the most popular). Used by nearly all the professional sports teams out there, these boots can help you recover from a long day on the slopes with just the touch of a button.
Turn on these lightweight, portable, battery-powered leg sleeves and the dynamic compression system will massage your limbs using a “patented NormaTec Pulse Technology massage pattern.” Using the app, you can specify the zone you want to focus on or let the boots run through sequential compression to help stimulate blood flow, aid lymphatic drainage and rid the tissue of metabolic waste, decreasing soreness and speeding up the recovery process.
You can buy your own NormaTec pants for about $1,200 (on sale) or you can try them out first. MountainFit offers compression therapy with the NormaTec recovery pants and is scheduling pop-ups around the valley where you can recover for free after an active day on the mountain. The next one takes place on Jan. 6 at Big Mountain Tuning in Lionshead Village in Vail; you can check out their Facebook page or Instagram to see additional après recovery pop-ups around the valley.
“We believe that everyone should have the opportunity to recover like a professional athlete, which is why we have these après recovery pop-ups,” said Lexi Mossman, founder of MountainFit. “They are at different venues (Etown, VBC, Big Mountain Tuning, lululemon, etc.) and the goal is to bring the community together, grab a drink for après and offer sports recovery.”
Vail Athletic Club also has the NormaTec pants — contact Mark Pitcher at the Vail Vitality Center at 970-476-7960 for more information.
Another option for wearable recovery: Compression clothing. In addition to compression socks or tights, which can be worn either during skiing or afterward, compression tops and/or sleeves can also be beneficial for recovery after a day on the mountain.
“Compression after a workout is great for blood flow,” Mossman said. “It helps reduce swelling, improves circulation and decreases muscular soreness.”
Though your first thought after getting home may be to jump into cozy pants, it’s not always beneficial to hop right out of those base layers and into sweats. If your clothes are wet or sweaty, change into something dry: Mossman, who is an ambassador for lululemon, recommends wunder unders, align pants and swifty long sleeves for women and the surge tight, metal vent long sleeve and abc jogger for men.
“I strongly believe they make some of the most comfortable and tech advanced clothing for skiing/riding,” Mossman said. “They help with recovery because of the tightness/compression, breathability and comfort which all help with the benefits I mentioned earlier. Circulation is the big benefit of wearing compressive clothing.”
In the search for compression, don’t forget breathability if you’re going to wear it on the mountain — you still want items that will wick away moisture when you’re working hard.
Telic Après-Ski Recovery Boots
The best part of skiing might be taking off the boots at the end of the day. Treat your feet with après-sport recovery footwear like après-ski recovery boots from Telic. Lightweight, water-resistant, supportive and shock-absorbing, these boots allow you to navigate the streets and sidewalk in comfort. A textured and contoured footbed makes it feel like you’re getting a gentle massage while the orthotic-grade arch evenly distributes your weight and eliminates pressure points under the foot. A few minutes after slipping these on, I felt like I was walking on springs rather than the tight, cramped blocks my feet usually become. I’m not sure if they speeded my recovery per se, but I certainly appreciated the comfort and ease I experienced.
As technology continues to advance, wearable recovery gear is likely to advance, too. However, it’s important to remember that recovery after sports and exercise is not only physical — it can be mental, too. So don your gear but be sure to incorporate some relaxation, as well. I hear hot tubs are nice.