If you are snow lover and ski fan like me, (I count my ski days, and the number of ski resorts I have skied – 225 and still going) you think winter just doesn’t last long enough. That was certainly the case winter 2020 when ski resorts closed way too soon!
Let’s stay healthy, stay well, and stay fit, during this down time from downhill skiing, in anticipation of next ski season and resorts re-opening! Until then, here are some of my favorite spring, summer and fall activities, call them ski substitutes:
H2O Skiing – water skiing is a second cousins to snow skiing. The quad muscles, core strength and isometric movement is the same skiing on water as on snow. Water skiing is a great work out, explosive energy and fitness is required to get up and stay up for a 15-30 minute ski. A good waterski workout equates to much as 10 ski runs. Like downhill skiing, it’s not for the timid or the faint of wallet – let’s see you need a ski, or two, a ski boat, pfd, tow line, gas for the boat, a driver and spotter, and then you pray for calm crystal waters. Water skiing on early morning “glass” conditions are akin to untracked powder or perfectly groomed snow. The speed and centrifugal force of an arcing water ski turn is as close as you are going to get to the thrill and gravitational pull of carving on snow till winter returns.
Wakeboarding – the summer bro to snowboarding, wakeboarding also works your quads, core and upper body in great pre-ski or après ski season conditioning. If you like to hit the terrain park in winter on your board, then wakeboarding is just your speed in summer sine you can perform tricks, turns and jumps on a wakeboard.
SUP and Boating – stand up paddle boarding, kayaking or canoeing, while not as physically strenuous as skiing, offers a similar great outdoorsy escape as snow sports. Paddleboading engages your core, glutes and your leg muscles in a fun fitness workout afloat, which you can take to the next level with SUP yoga or SUP surfing in the waves. Being on a paddleboard, personal watercraft, or boat, provides a feeling of oneness with nature, and the opportunity to escape from the concrete jungle, the computer keyboard, the day to day, and test your survival skills with outdoor adventure. Many skiers spend their summers boating for the beauty of being on the water, not unlike being on a mountain. Boating is also very social, like minded individuals gravitate toward the water – which is melted snow after all, to party, swim, raft and tell fish tales and yachting stories in lieu of powder day brags.
Cycling – road cycling or mountain biking are great exercise for skiers and riders. You work your quads, gluteus, hamstrings, and calves while exploring the great outdoors. Whether you are big on hill climbs or prefer touring the meandering coast on your road bike, cycling is a fun fitness activity. Peloton and spin classes are fantastic for HIIT riding- high intensity interval training.
Biking outdoors, heads up and helmets on – bike accidents are more prevalent than ski injuries, and particularly bike head trauma is much higher than the low incident rate on the ski slopes. So ride with care, watch for cars, and seek out bike paths, trails and quieter, less trafficked places to ride whenever possible.
Cross Fit – Boot Camp – offer great dry land exercise, typically mixing up your work-out, working various muscles groups, hopefully in a fun social format with other motivated peers. Nothing like accountability to raise your fitness game.
Hiking – what better way to enjoy the beautiful mountains in summer, without snow, than to climb to the summit. Pack a picnic, put on your hiking boots and go for the peak. Hiking is easy on the wallet and the eyes, especially when you summit and can see the panorama you earned from your ascent. Just like skiing, your hiking regimen should start small and gradually increase your distance and mountain difficulty for the best enjoyment and conditioning. Be prepared for all weather and conditions, do your research, and pack in and pack out all your provisions (water, food, flashlight, first aid). Take only memories and leave only foot prints is the golden rule among hikers. Take care on your descent to use proper form for those ski knees of yours. Consult your local state parks and hiking clubs for tips on the best trails, where to park and start your trip, and to find the right hike size, length and steepness s for your level and time allowance.
These are a few of my favorite summer things… what’s your summer survival game plan till snow flies and we ski again?
Heather Burke, 2020 Copyright & Photography property of Family Ski Trips