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Getting January legs by November

Janice Kurbjun
Summit Daily News
Summit Daily/Janice Kurbjun
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Hattit Potts came into the fitness room with gusto, excitedly encouraging those scattered about the newly refinished floors to finish their pre-class stretches and arrange themselves to get warmed up.

It was Day One of Potts’ ski and ride conditioning class at the Silverthorne Recreation Center, a class designed to hone its participants’ agility, core strength, balance, flexibility and condition them aerobically and anaerobically in preparation for the winter sports season.

“With the weather change, people are getting excited,” recreation center fitness coordinator Renee Rogers said. “It’s around the corner.”

And to get ready in this world of the forward and aft motion of hikers and bikers, many people are starting their lateral motion training now rather than a few weeks before the resorts open so their bodies are ready to go when the snow allows. The goal is to encourage appropriate proactive conditioning and to prevent injury, Potts said.

“You’re going to have a much more enjoyable athletic experience” by training in advance of the winter snow season, she said, adding with a smile that, though her class helps, it’s far from actually being on the slopes, on the cross-country track or strapped into snowshoes.

“The only way to really get ready for the winter season is by doing wall sits in a freezer with a fan blowing,” she joked. “You’re never totally ready, but this prepares the muscle memory and muscle recall.”

The class is held Monday evenings and Thursday mornings (Saturdays are added in October) in the recreation center’s aerobics room, but it’s far from an aerobics class. It’s comprised of roughly 40 percent men, on average, and it brings in people who normally don’t attend drop-in classes, fitness coordinator, Rogers said.

“There are 18-year-olds next to 80-year-olds,” she said, explaining that the class is for all ages and all abilities. It’s designed so all participants can notch their intensity up or down according to their sport of interest and desired challenge. The class becomes more challenging each week approaching ski season.

“If you ski blacks, you have to train for blacks. If you ski blues, you train for blues,” Rogers said.

Potts sets up stations in the fitness room and divides her class into groups that rotate together to each station.

“Your calves do get a workout … (with all those goofy things we do on the snow),” Potts said during class as she demonstrated a leg exercise.

For Silverthorne’s Val Butler, a Breckenridge Recreation Center and Copper Mountain instructor, the class is an ideal way to “get it all at once.”

“It’s a mix of aerobics, stations and plyometrics,” she said, adding that her favorite exercise is hopping through a ladder on the ground to mimic moguls. “You get mind, body and feet. You have to get used to skiing quickly through the bumps.”

James Davenport, a ski racer in the master’s class who lives in Dillon, said he’s been attending the class for four years out of its nearly 15-year run. He works out six days per week, mixing up the recreation center’s drop-in offerings such as yoga, muscle madness, spinning and ski and ride conditioning.

The class builds camaraderie as it trains. When the snow starts falling and the slopes begin to open, classmates tend to volunteer to ski together after working out together side-by-side, she said.

“It’s really fun. It goes by fast,” Potts said, adding, “Bring water. You will sweat.”

“If you love it, come back,” she said. “If you don’t love, it come back.”


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