By Courtney DiFiore

Imagine beginning your day with a beautiful sunrise over lush green mountains. As you gaze down into the valley, you bite into a locally grown apple. While stretching, you awe at the symphony of fall colors and plan out the rest of your day. Shall you take a swim in the local watering hole, play a few rounds on the links, rally some tennis balls or take a day trip to a nearby brewery? This is autumn in Vermont.

Between all the hikes, bonfires, swimming, biking and so on, there’s still one thing even the longest summer can’t make me forget… winter. Labor Day is celebrated nationwide and is the unofficial mark (for most) that summer is over. This holiday weekend has become a bittersweet time for those in love with the endless days of sunshine and tan lines. I, on the other hand, see Labor Day Weekend as a milestone counting down the days to the first snowfall.

This means there are fewer than 80 days to get ready for the season. While many are thinking about what new gear to buy or where to bring their old digs for a sharpen and wax, I’m concerned about my physical shape. I want to get the most out of my money. When I buy a lift ticket, I plan on lapping the lift until last call. If I’m not prepared, I’ll be the person huddled next to a heater in a base lodge. I don’t want to be huddled there tired, sore and hungry. No one wants to be that guy!

It’s important not to discount the physical beating your body takes when skiing and riding; it’s something to prepare for. Ready or not, Stratton’s chairlifts will start spinning. In an effort to jump start my winter training I’ve made a ‘to-do list’ that to keep me on track.

  1. Complete the 7 Summits Challenge – I’m looking to build my endurance and leg strength so I can go from first chair to Après with ease.
  2. Strengthen my core in the gym – Here’s a circuit I like to do from Men’s Health Magazine:
    seated ab crunchSeated ab crunch
    Sit on a flat bench, gripping the edges. Lean back, extending your legs. Then bend your knees and raise your legs to your chest. Lean your upper body forwards, bringing your chest towards your thighs. Aim for 12 reps.

    mb leg dropMedicine ball leg-drops
    Lie face-up and squeeze a light med ball between your ankles. Start with your legs straight up then lower them without touching the floor. Return to the start position as fast as possible. That’s 1 rep. Do 10-12.

    weighted one side crunchWeighted one-sided crunch
    Lie back, knees bent and feet flat. Hold a dumbbell with both hands by your right shoulder. Curl your torso up and rotate to the left, then lower back down. Perform 8-10 reps on one side, switch and repeat with the dumbbell by your left shoulder.

    cable crunchKneeling cable crunch
    Kneel facing the pulley of a cable machine with a rope attached high. Hold the ends of the rope near sides of face. Crunch three times in total: first aim your chest at your pelvis, then aim at your left knee, then at your right. That’s 1 rep.

    Perform 10

    burpee1 Burpee
    Get into a regular squat-thrust position: arms shoulder-width apart, hands on the floor with your legs tucked up to your chest. This is both your start and finish stance.

    burpee2Kick your legs back to a press-up position and lower yourself for a push-up before jumping back into start position.

    From here, thrust your body upwards, using your legs and core muscles to launch yourself burpee3from the ground.

    Do 3 sets of 20 reps.

  3. Attend two yoga classes a week – I plan on increasing my flexibility as it’s very important.

What are you doing to get ready for the season?