Gyms preparing athletes for the winter season |

Gyms preparing athletes for the winter season

Kirsten Dobroth
Special to the Daily
Jesse Mellinger, front, sets out for a 10 minute row during a GOAT Training endurance workout in Edwards on Friday. The training session was focusing on continual power for a sustained period of time.
Townsend Bessent | |

EAGLE COUNTY — Mountain living is denoted by an active lifestyle; from summer to winter there are literally mountains of possibilities to get Vail Valley bodies moving and active. Many members of the population live for the lifestyle that is fostered here, and while playing as hard as possible is the endgame for many, the work hard part of the equation that takes place in the months before winter, in particular, is often forgotten. While mud season is a quiet time to start dreaming of powder turns and tree runs, local gyms are preparing athletes for the upcoming winter season with comprehensive programming for strength, power and fitness.

At Minturn Fitness Center, Human Performance Director John “JC” Cole often sees a recurring theme with many athletes of varying ability that they will ski their way into shape.

“This raises red flags for several reasons,” he said. “The season goes by fast; wouldn’t you rather be able to dominate the slopes from Opening Day till the end?” Similarly, Cole points to many years marked by a large, early season snowfall, which might find even the most avid skier or snowboarder missing out because of physical fitness.

John Mark Seelig owner of GOAT Training in Edwards agrees that there is a hesitation among many locals to spend time in the gym before the winter season.

“So many people excel athletically in the Vail Valley and oftentimes work in the gym points out their deficiencies,” he said. “It’s working on these weaknesses that will make them stronger.”

While working hard in the months building up to ski season may seem like a lot of time and energy, Seelig argues that this work is critical.

“Even professional athletes have to work hard in the gym,” he said.


For those looking to make the investment in a comprehensive winter conditioning program to ready their bodies for the rigors of a season on the mountain, both Minturn Fitness Center and GOAT Training have the answers.

Minturn Fitness Center’s second annual Winter Sports Conditioning Program kicks off Monday, and runs until Opening Day on Vail Mountain. Aiming to prepare winter athletes for a season on the mountain, Cole explains that much of the training attendees would be exposed to incorporates similar techniques utilized by the athlete population of Ski & Snowboard Club Vail. Much of the focus on the MFC’s program includes agility, strength and power, along with core function, corrective exercises and movement preparation for an added emphasis on better movement though space.

“Our trainers spend several months building out this program to give attendees the best, well-rounded sessions to get them in excellent shape to get on the mountain and participate in sports they love,” Cole said.

Goat Training also offers comprehensive programming throughout the fall to improve power, strength and endurance. Owned and operated by Seelig and his wife, Laura, Seelig explains that the week is broken down into interval, strength and endurance days to incorporate various aspects of fitness, and maximize athletic output. Interval days most closely mimic a ski run, and give participants an opportunity to work on movements for 30 seconds to 3 minutes with a focus on improving recovery and delaying the onset of fatigue. Strength days similarly prepare bodies for a day on the hill by building power, with an emphasis on body tension and improving form. The endurance days at the end of the week are more focused on the heart and breathing, and are great for cross-country skiers, or athletes that might spend much of the winter skinning.

Incorporating a strength and conditioning program via the guidance of professionals has the added benefit of promoting correct movement patterns, and diversifying a training program to reap multifaceted fitness benefits.

For more information about Minturn Fitness Center’s Winter Sports Conditioning program, contact them at 970-790-5090, and reserve a spot. Daily class schedules for GOAT Training can be found at their website at

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