Getting in shape for ski season |

Getting in shape for ski season

by sam bauman

Last week was the original finale to my plan to get in physical shape for skiing the moguls on Heavenly’s Gunbarrel run with just a couple of stops. But as I realized earlier, six weeks is not enough to get in shape for any serious challenge.

So Saturday I met with David Curiel for the last formal session. We ran through the exercises I have been doing and I was happy to be able to demonstrate some progress. I suspect a more continuous program would have resulted in even more, but I was satisfied with where we have reached.

Not so satisfied that I felt ready for Gunbarrel, however.

So I’m continuing regular workouts three times a week (and more when I can find the time) at the 24 Hour Fitness facility. I’ve made a listing of the routines I plan to follow and I’d like to share them, with comments.

I like to start out with a stint on the treadmill as a warmup, not part of the planned routine. I started out just doing 10 to 15 minutes of straight walking. But I switched to programmed walks quickly, enjoying the variety of speeds (from 3 to 4 miles an hour) and incline (from 2 to 5 degrees).

From the treadmill I move to stretching exercises, mainly working on the quads and hamstrings. When teaching skiing I usually did a stretch or two at the top of the hill before making my first run, but it was all too rudimentary and probably did more harm than good. From now on, serious stretching before skiing hot runs.

While the order varies, I usually moved next to the big plastic ball, sitting on it and raising the knee, then extending the leg with the eyes closed. This was an exercise designed to improve balance and core stability.

I was surprised at the difficulty I encountered in this seemingly simple movement. I had thought that as an advanced skier I had good balance, the key to skiing. But while doing this the other day I noticed a woman starting a exercise program with Miss X. First time out and the woman was doing this movement flawlessly. I later found out that she was a professional dancer.

Next move usually was on the back with both heels resting on the plastic ball, then rolling it back toward me while lifting the hips off the floor and holding them there while I move the ball out and back with hands folded across the chest. I think I’ve mastered the balance aspect of this one, now I need just to improve on the number of reps.

I then move to a racquet ball court where I lined up on one of the painted lines. With hands about hip high, looking ahead, I cross the court leaping from left to right and moving forward. This was a substitute for jumping rope and moving from side to side as I was having problems with the rope. I do this 10 times, seeking to keep the body still and extend and retract the legs as in skiing in bumps.

From there I move to loop rubber tubes with handles around a solid upright. I sit on a bench with a back at about 80 degrees, grasp the blue and red rubber tubes by the handles and extended my arms, elbows up, arms moving out straight out. This continues to be a toughie for me so I supplement it with using a machine that duplicates the movement but is rigid so that the arm muscles don’t have to stabilize my movements, making it easier. I’ll get those tubes yet.

Now on to a single arm movement where grasping a handle with one arm I move about 40 pounds up the rack, keeping the arm straight and beginning at shoulder height and bringing the hand down to the thigh. Twenty reps with each arm, repeated.

Then back to the plastic ball against a wall with my back against the ball and sinking to a position where the thighs are parallel with the floor. I had occasionally done this in the past without the ball, but a variation was the addition of a smaller ball between the knees for additional resistance work. I started at 30 seconds, now I’m up to three minutes and figure on making it five minutes before the end of the month. This is done four times.

An interesting variation is to have someone throw a smaller ball to your from positions around an arc while against the ball and thighs parallel with the floor. With David I do a variation of this, with him rolling the ball to me so that I squat, pick up the ball, rise thrusting the chest out and return the ball. At least 20 times with this one when we do it.

By now I’ve worked up a sweat.

I move on then to the raised platform, five units up, beside a wall. With one foot on the platform, I bring the other up and touch the platform while raising the body toward the ceiling. Thirty reps here for each leg.

I’m nearing the end now and head for a structure that has a padded platform. I raise it until it hits me just about where the femur joins the hips. Face down, I lift the legs as high as I can 30 times. And on occasion after this I mount the plastic ball with my back resting on it, my head back over the ball and raise my head and body as near vertical as I can. This is a tough one for me.

Now it’s off to the showers.

David has agreed to check up on my once a week in the future to monitor my progress. I’ll make a couple of later reports on this, winding up just before New Year’s.

Am I ready to ski? Infinitely more so than in the past. I’ve never worked this hard and this regularly before the season. Have I achieved the goal I sought. Not yet, but I’m committed to getting there. And continuing this regime.

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