Here's where to get in shape for ski season in Vail |

Here’s where to get in shape for ski season

The Ski Conditioning Class at Aria starts with cardio, and then moves into a strength- and endurance-building circuit.
Casey Russell |

As Keystone, Arapahoe Basin and Loveland start blowing snow, it’s time to start thinking about ski season. Stores are having sales on last season’s winter gear and the mountains are prepping for shredding and powder days, but are you ready? I’m not talking mentally: I’m talking physically.

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not sure I am. I haven’t skied since I was about 10 years old. I’m active in general, but like any full-body sport, being strong and prepared, especially if you’re aiming for 100-plus days on the mountain this season, is key.

“It’s a progressive class,” said Patty Hyne, who’s been teaching the Ski Conditioning class at Aria for 19 years. “Everyone has fun, everyone loves it. You want to build your endurance in your legs so you want your legs to burn.”

And after a few hill sprints and stair runs with Hyne, my legs definitely did burn. As a disclaimer: her class is not for beginners or those looking to jump-start their fitness routine after being out of shape. Hyne said this is the hardest class Aria offers and participants should be reasonably athletic before heading in. I logged 6 to 10-mile hikes all summer and I was hurting. But it was a good hurt.

The Winter Sports Conditioning Class opens for Aria members and non-members on Wednesday, Oct. 9. The class is free for members, and non-members can either pay the drop-in rate of $20 per class or buy a month-long membership for full access to Aria. There are also two parties during the five-week program; on Oct. 9 and Nov. 13 respectively.

Here’s where to find other ski conditioning classes in the Vail Valley.

The Athletic Club at the Westin | Avon

Mikaela Shiffrin is an American World Cup alpine ski racer with the U.S. Ski Team, specializing in the technical events of slalom and giant slalom. She is the reigning Olympic, World Cup, and world champion in slalom.
Marc Piscotty | Special to the Daily

The Winter Sport Conditioning Class at the Westin draws heavily from Mikaela Shiffrin’s repertoire, as she also uses the studio and spa to work herself out. She’ll share her personal methods via pre-recorded video, guiding athletes through BOSU, TRX, kettle-bells, agility ladder and hurdles, medicine balls and sand bags. The classes started Oct. 1, but run through Nov. 30, and are offered each day of the work week at various times to accommodate busy people. The classes are $20 for non-members and free for members, so call 970-790-2051 to reserve a spot or get more information.

Dogma Athletica | Edwards

Dogma’s trainers write on the website: “don’t make the number one mistake of trying to ski yourself in to shape.” The class runs twice weekly from Tuesday, Oct. 15 to Thursday, Nov. 21 from 5:30-6:30 p.m. Ahtletes can expect to build muscle in the quads and hammies and stabilize the core and the joints to help swerve down the mountain. Call 970-688-4433 to reserve a spot.

Homestead Court Club | Edwards

Held from 5:30-6:30 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays, participants on this class, which started on Oct. 2 last week, will spend the whole month concentrating on the most-used muscle groups in skiing and snowboarding. Some classes will be held outside, so instructors recommend bringing layers. A limited number of memberships are available at Homestead for non-residents, so be sure to call 970-926-1067 ahead of time.

Minturn Fitness Center | Minturn

These guys started early on Sept. 9, but the classes continue until Nov. 15. In the 10-week program, athletes take 90-minute strength classes from 9-10 a.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. They also get access to an online platform and pre- and post-program testing to see improvements. The price for members is $325, and nonmembers pay $425 for the class and a 10-week membership at the gym. The drop-in rate is $15. For more information and to reserve a spot, call 970-790-5090.

Vail Athletic Club | Vail

The Winter Sports Conditioning class starts tomorrow, Oct. 7 and runs through Nov. 14. In the six-week program, athletes will train as well as learn injury prevention techniques and recovery exercises to help make sure they aren’t sidelined by an unexpected pulled muscle or sprain. Classes are held at 6 a.m., 9 a.m. or 5:30 p.m. It costs $299 for members and $429 for non-members, including a gym membership for the duration of the class. Call 970-476-7960 to register. Also, there’s a welcome party after class tomorrow, too.

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