As a diehard skier trying to spend every day that I can on the slopes, I get a lot of questions. When it’s chilly out, I can never complain because people always ask “You’re a skier, don’t you like being cold?”
So I thought I’d do a little Q&A with the questions I frequently get from friends and family.
Q: Doesn’t being cold make skiing less fun?
A: I enjoy skiing so much that cold doesn’t bother me, but I don’t want to stand around in -10 weather.
Q: Isn’t it boring to ski green (easy) or blue (intermediate) trails once you are an “expert”?
A: I enjoy the advanced terrain, the moguls, the deep pow, but I also like a nice meandering trail with a view or a freshly groomed beginner trail with no one else on it. Skiing for me is about having fun – whatever the condition.
Q: Is ski racing an event where everyone lines up and tries to get to the bottom first?
A: That sounds kind of like skier-cross, which includes banked turns and jumps as well. I would totally give that a try. However, traditional ski racing is a little more organized and looks like this.
Q: Doesn’t gravity do all the work for you? Why do you need to be get in shape for skiing?
A: Gravity helps, but there’s technique involved. It’s a workout, and the mountain sure knows how to kick my butt. Getting in shape helps make the ski season more fun.
What are the most common questions you get about your hobbies?
Who else is looking forward to some powder over the holiday weekend? I remember skiing small, crowded resorts on holiday weekends as our yearly family ski vacation. While it is nice to have the mountain to yourself, nothing beats having some friends stay for a long weekend, and skiing in a group, regardless of ability, or crowds. The ski bum life isn’t for everyone, but it’s nice when everyone can get together and ski bum it for a weekend!
So I never really thought I’d be a competitive skier, but I did have a few years of recreational racing in college. Mostly I liked it because I had a group to go skiing with at least 4 days a week, and people that didn’t mind skipping class for a day of fresh powder. Racing was always fun, and it made me a much stronger skier, but I never cared too much about the clock or how I was placing.
So it is kind of funny to think that I might be racing in a rec league again this weekend! Pray I don’t blow a knee, I’m not as young (or reckless) as I used to be.
Days are getting longer but it is still tough to wake up in darkness, and leave work in darkness.
I hate getting out of bed when it is still dark, only to pull on my warm running tights, shorts over those, my warmest shirt, gloves, a hat, and lace up my shoes to get in a few miles before work.
I could hit up the gym, but getting up another 20 minutes earlier to run on the dreadmill just seems so unappealing.
This article has some good tips for those days that you hit snooze no less than 12 times. I may or may not have done that twice this week. These tips can be easily adapted to any workout routine, not just running.
What keeps you going when it’s cold and dark?
Some more cool skiers to follow on Instagram:
Scrolling through my feed in the morning helps get me through a long day of work by pumping me up for the lines I’ll make on the mountain on the weekend.
Cody Townsend has got some sick pics that will make you crave the slopes. Check him out here.
Living out west was the best decision I ever made. Well, maybe second to asking my girlfriend for her number…
Mostly because I don’t have to carefully save my vaca days to get a nice week of skiing in.
But I have plenty of friends on the east coast. Heck I’ve been skiing out there quite a few times over the years. Mad River Glen is always an adventure.
But when you don’t live nearly as close to the slopes, a ski weekend isn’t always doable. I know a few of my buddies who moved to the Mid Atlantic are struggling to figure out how they are gonna get their powder fix. I tell them to visit me all the time! But travel and work and spending time with your family can be a tough balance. We all have our priorities.
How many days on the slopes do you guys normally get every year?
Now that the holidays are over and everything is on sale, and winter has finally hit the east coast, you guys might be looking into some new gear!
These are my essentials for staying warm on those bitter cold days when sane people won’t even go outside.
Buff headwear. I don’t love being frozen solid while I ski, but I especially hate getting sweaty under all those layers. You get colder on the lift, and it just makes you uncomfortable for the whole day. These extra long, multi-use neckwarmers are thin and lightweight. They keep the frigid air out, but allow you to breathe and feel a little wind on your face.
Ski socks that are warm, but thin. In your tight stiff ski boots or snowboard boots, you need air to circulate to keep those feet warm. Layers of socks won’t help, but a high quality wool pair will. Spend a little more to get the good ones.
A windproof/waterproof shell. Seems like a no brainer right? You’d be surprised how many people I see out there in puffy down coats, or what looks like their everyday winter jacket. Down or synthetic is a great mid layer – but it won’t stop howling winds. Also down won’t stay warm when it is wet.
Glove liners. These changed my life. Seriously. My hands are the only thing that gets frozen numb. I added a pair of synthetic glove liners to my mitts, and I’m good as new.
When all else fails – go to the lodge and grab a hot chocolate, and maybe a beer. Then get back out there!
Sorry all, been off the grid a little bit because of the holidays! As we are heading into the new year, I thought I’d post a bucket list. Everyone’s got one. Mine is constantly evolving and I’m always adding something new if I’ve checked something off.
- Skydive with my girlfriend. (Checked skydiving off my list years ago!)
- Go heliskiing.
- Climb a big mountain. Not sure which one. Denali, Kilimanjaro, we’ll see where the wind takes me.
- Swim with sharks.
- Thru-hike at least part of the Pacific Crest Trail and Appalachian Trail.
- Run the Boston Marathon.
- Run an Ultramarathon.
- Believe it or not, I have never seen a show in the Red Rocks Ampitheater. Crazy, but I’ve got to do that someday soon.
- Compete in a rally race.
- Be at the game when the Avs win the Stanley Cup.
Some of these are easy, some are left to chance. Some will take an awful lot of work and running. What is on yours?
Stumbled upon this fantastic article about Paralympians starting an adventure camp for people with disabilities. A lot of people experience the world in a different way, and extreme outdoor sports haven’t always been the most accessible to them. It is great to see these champs creating exciting and accessible opportunities. Bringing more diversity and different perspectives to extreme sports can only enrich the experience for everyone involved.
With sports like waterskiing, downhill biking, kitebuggying and kayaking, this is a great step toward supporting everyone in following their passions.
How do you think we can make the world of extreme/outdoor sports more inclusive?
When it’s been a long day on the slopes, my legs are beat and I am starving, because I like to ski through lunch and sometimes I forget to eat it altogether.
So some of my essentials are:
- Thermos full of coffee and a big breakfast to start the day off right.
- A king-size snickers bar – Clif bars and gu’s just don’t do it for me. I’d rather chomp on a candy bar on the lift.
- A crockpot dinner (made by my lovely girlfriend) so we can have a hot, delicious meal waiting when we get home.
Minimal effort, maximum enjoyment is my philosophy when it comes to food.
What about you? How do you fuel for a day of skiing, hiking, or climbing?
What is your favorite thing to do when you get home?