Countdown to Thigh Burn

By Beacon Staff

This week, snows crept down Big Mountain to the bottom of Chair 1, and procrastinators are panicked. Even with Whitefish Mountain Resort’s delayed opening, less than 50 days remain until ski season. For those who hike to ski, even fewer days remain to get in shape for the thigh burning first day.

“Your body responds to how you condition it,” says Holly Stevenson, instructor of The Wave’s ski conditioning program and a ski racer for 12 years. “It can make a huge difference in your season, especially for injury prevention.” Even though Stevenson is four weeks into teaching her ski conditioning program, procrastinators can jump into the class for the second session that starts next Monday.

“I set up the program as a circuit, so each individual can work at his or her own intensity level,” explains Stevenson. Even though the class varies between 10 – 20 students per session, she welcomes additions and plans to add another trainer if numbers climb too high. After a group warm up and introduction to new exercises, everyone hits the circuit to work on core and leg strength. All exercises target specific muscles and replicate motions used in skiing. Some are familiar exercises, like squats and lunges; others add bands, tubing, and balls. “Fitness levels are all across the board. Some haven’t done anything for ages, and others are ready for explosive power exercises now,” says Stevenson. Ski goals vary, too.

Session two runs Oct. 29 through Nov. 30, with the week of Thanksgiving off. Those hopping in for the second session can join evening classes on Mondays and Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. or morning classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 9 a.m. Cost for members is $69; non-members pay $89. Upon completion, program participants receive T-shirts and coupons from sponsors, such as Valhalla Adventures who kicked in a two-for-one cat ski coupon.

After the second session, Stevenson plans to continue the ski training program. But she’ll shift emphasis to maintenance exercises for the winter.