Ski season is coming: Are you in shape for it? |

Ski season is coming: Are you in shape for it?

Summit Daily/Brad Odekirk Jim Maucht dips a knee into a turn while skiing above Janet's Cabin on a hut trip.

Practically overnight in September, Summit County switched gears from summer to winter. As the yellow carpet of aspen leaves slowly changes into a white blanket of snow, local athletes can change gears, too.This is the perfect time of year to begin a training and conditioning program specifically designed around preparing for the upcoming ski and snowboard season. “A good training program gets you through the entire season injury free,” said Diane Desilva, a certified personal trainer who teaches a ski conditioning class at the Breckenridge Recreation Center. While classes are available at both the Breck and Silverthorne recreation centers, anybody can start building training techniques specific to winter sports. “You can do anything that incorporates the lower body and large muscle groups,” Desilva said. “You can do lunges down the street if you want.” Desilva recommends building core strength as well, through sit-ups and pushups.

Building aerobic endurance is also important.According to Frank Kelble, Team Summit’s head ability coach, intervals are a good way to increase endurance and can be incorporated into any running or cycling workout. “You look at your watch and go hard for 30 seconds, then slowly walk or jog for two minutes,” Kelble said. Desilva pointed out that changing directions suddenly during running sprints can help increase agility, balance and coordination on the snow. StretchingA weekly stretching routine should be a part of any training regimen, and athletes need to be consistent about it. “If you only do it once a week, you won’t see any gain,” Kelbe said.

Lower body stretches are important, especially in the hamstrings and hip flexors. “It also helps your back if you keep your hamstring well-stretched,” he said. Tim Faia, an employee at the Breck Rec Center, recommends yoga as a way to build flexibility. “It’s a nice way to complement more explosive workouts,” he said. “You can do it in between workouts or the day after a hard workout.” PlyometricsA great way to build power in the lower body is through plyometrics, a controlled technique of jumping.”It’s leaping and bounding, sometimes under load (with weight), sometimes on some of the fit balls,” Faia said. “It works on strength, balance and explosive movements.”

Faia recommended the book “Power Training for Sports: Plyometrics for Maximum Power Development” by Tudor O. Bompa to learn more about the practice. EducationSpecific classes are one of the best ways to learn proper form for weightlifting, plyometrics and stretching. “I tell my students that by the end of eight weeks, they’ll be able to leap over a Colorado mountain in a single bound,” Desilva joked. At the Breck Rec Center, the classes run Mondays and Wednesdays from 5:15 – 6:15 p.m. In Silverthorne, they are being held on Mondays and Thursdays from 6-7:15 p.m.The classes are progressive in nature, with the drills getting harder each week. But representatives at both rec centers say that people can join in anytime.

“Everybody has to know their own level of fitness when they walk through the door, and go at their own pace,” Desilva said. Silverthorne is also offering a unique program that incorporates swimming. Liquid Snow is a three-week program, with one session running Oct. 6-27 and another from Nov. 3-24. Every Wednesday night, participants will work on training methods in the pool.”It’s basically a no-impact water fitness class,” said the rec center’s Mike Thomas. The class costs $44 for rec center members and $48 for non members. The Silverthorne Rec Center can be reached at (970) 262-7370 and the Breck Rec Center can be reached at (970) 453-1734. Richard Chittick can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 236 or at

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