Healthy Living: Don’t pay the consequences this ski season, start training now with these tips | VailDaily.com

Healthy Living: Don’t pay the consequences this ski season, start training now with these tips

The Ski Coniditioning Class at Aria starts with cardio, and then moves into a strength- and endurance-building circuit.
Casey Russell | crussell@vaildaily.com

With winter right around the corner, many in the valley are getting ready for their first days on the slopes. Perhaps they’ve even already hit Keystone or Arapahoe Basin, which opened last weekend.

To best prepare for the season and to reduce the risk of injury, winter sports enthusiasts from beginners to experts should start conditioning themselves now. Skiing and snowboarding use specific muscles that are relatively dormant during the off season, so unless you’ve worked those muscles already, you might be in for a rude awakening after that first day on snow.

Most winter sports are anaerobic activities with short, intense bursts of energy mixed with periods of rest, therefore it’s important to first build an aerobic base. One of the best ways to do that is to run at an easy or moderate pace for a continuous period of time, while slowly adding mileage and time as workouts get easier.

Increasing intensity will help develop a higher anaerobic output, which means you can ski/snowboard harder, faster and longer. Strength training is also key to a conditioning routine and should include all muscle groups to build overall body strength. It’s also important to target isolated muscle groups around the joints, which will help reduce the risk of injury.

Finally, stretching and gentle movement exercises will help with the flexibility, balance and coordination that is so important on snow.

Creating and sticking with a routine can seem daunting, but help from a professional trainer or taking a winter sports conditioning program can get people started in the right direction.

For the 2019-20 season, Aria Athletic Club at Grand Hyatt Vail is one of several athletic facilities in the valley offering a winter sports conditioning program.

Classes run through Nov. 13. All levels and abilities are welcome, and instructors will help with modifications when needed. The progressive program is designed to increase anaerobic output, so it’s recommended that individuals attend regularly to gain the most out of the program.

Program perks include continuous randomly drawn prizes and opening and closing parties — with food, of course. The program is free for Aria members, and memberships are available for as low as $94 per month. Nonmembers are welcome to drop-in to any class for $20 per class.

Emily Dornan is the director at Aria Athletic Club at the Grand Hyatt Vail. For more information on the program and how to best prepare for the winter seasons, you can reach her at 970-479-5949 or edornan@ariaclub.com.