What’s your idea of getting ready for the ski season? Do you just grab your skis at the first big snow of the year and go? Do you have some kind of fitness routine to get ready for the rigours of skiing?
As a Canadian Ski Patroller, I start getting ready for the ski season well before the season starts. My annual CPR training day was in late August and Advanced First Aid training in early September. We re-certify every year on both Advanced First Aid and CPR (Health Care Practitioner level). I’m also a First Aid Instructor so through the fall, I’m teaching some first aid modules and testing patrollers at course end for their re-certification. We also meet with the ski resort owners to plan out the upcoming season from a local patrol perspective. Now with the leaves falling and the air getting colder, I’m looking forward to the ski season too. I ski a lot so basic fitness and my equipment are as important to me as they should be to you in getting ready for the ski season.
This is the time to clean out your ski bag and look at your equipment. My ski bag is actually a big hockey bag. I carry everything for a full day under any conditions- my boots, jacket, extra fleece sweater, extra ski pants, 3 different goggles (for different light), extra gloves, socks, etc. It’s time to look and see what needs replacing and cleaning. During the season, I’ll ski in +10c to -28c temperatures; rain to heavy snow; day and night so I want to be ready for whatever weather Mother Nature comes up with. Gloves get holes; goggles get scratched; clothing wears out. Pre-season ski sales and ski swaps are on now and give you a great chance to replace what needs replacing at a great price.
At the end of last season, spring skiing was in full swing as was a thin snow base. My skis definitely need a full tune-up (base fix, edge sharpening, wax). Boots need to be looked at too. Boots will wear out from use and especially boot inserts. If you have a lower price point boot, chances are you have a flat, felt insert (and chances are they are worn out). Do yourself (and your feet) a favour and buy some orthotic boot inserts. You’ll feel like you have new boots and gain exponential foot comfort. If your poles are bent or damaged, it’s time to get new ones too.
Skiing is tough on the body and the knees in particular, and ski patrol duties add more physical demands (helping people up, lifting toboggans, etc.). I work out to keep in shape but also to last on the slopes for 8 hours. Even with pre-season workouts, I know that I’ll be beat after my first shift of the season. You’ve got to work yourself up to a full day. Ski for 90 minutes; take a break and so on. If you are planning a ski vacation, say 5 days of skiing, you really need to be ready. Chances are you’ll be on a big mountain with long and demanding runs. You’ve got to get out at least a few times before and ideally for a few full days. Sharpen your skills and increase your skiing stamina. Being exhausted on skis late in the afternoon is not a good thing. Take it from me. Get yourself ready for the ski season!