By NATALIA HAWK
Every year, from about June until October, I’m a bit of a write-off.
I love my job. I love the degree I’m doing at uni. I love my family, my friends and my partner.
But when the weather turns colder, all I can think about is snow. The fresh air and bitter chill that whips across your face when you step onto the ski field. The sound of the liftie’s shovels as they scrape snow off the chairlift landing. The first click into your skis, the first whoosh of a snowboard as it passes you on the hill. The powder runs, the mountain views, the taste of a cider when you sit down at the end of the day…
I am dangerously addicted to it all. Every last spare cent is spent on ski holidays, and warmer destinations are overlooked for the chillier parts of the southern hemisphere. I spend far too much time researching the benefits of different types of skis and keeping an eye on how many centimetres of snow have fallen on different mountains, regardless of whether I’m actually heading there or not.
I know the trail maps of Whistler. Both peaks. I’ve never even been to Whistler.
But the ski bug is a specially contagious kind, and when it bites you, it hangs on hard.
I’ve been skiing for the great majority of my life, and yet I’m still quite crap at it. I blame an extremely traumatic event for my setbacks; at the tender age of seven, I got lost while night-skiing in Canada with my parents. When we got home, they thought that hanging up a map of the ski field beside my bed would be a good idea. You know, to help get rid of the nightmares.
Hint: it didn’t get rid of the nightmares. At all. But my mind was weak, and the skiing bug soon took hold again.
I know that school holidays have been and gone, and a lot of you might have already learned the below things the hard way. But maybe you haven’t been this season yet. Maybe you’re too late for this season but you’d like to check it out next year, maybe. Maybe you’ve vaguely always contemplated it but never committed to the idea.
I’ve decided to hijack this week’s fitness post to take you through the 5 things I think you should know about skiing, regardless of where you’re at:
1. Skiing is a sport…
Unless you plan to sit in the bar all day, drinking schnapps and wearing apres-ski boots… you will be skiing/snowboarding all day.
And this requires an amount of effort you may have underestimated. Even if you’re not shredding it down the black runs, simply falling over and getting back up again can be pretty damn tiring.
If you don’t want to be in a great deal of pain by the end of your holiday, and if you want to minimise your risk of injury – start training long before you’re set to get up on the mountain. You want cardio, you want strength workouts, and you want something like body balance or pilates. Do millions of squats and wall sits. MILLIONS.
Also, if you have Skins, consider wearing them instead of thermals under your ski gear – they’ll do much the same job but you won’t be so sore when you’re trying to roll out of bed the next morning.