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How to Get Your Body in Shape for Ski Season, According to a Former Olympian

There’s still time to get your legs and lungs powder-ready.

Still sore about missing your summer beach bod goals? Don’t sweat it. With roughly two months until the earliest resort openings, there’s more than enough time to get your legs and lungs in shape for ski season, says Andy LeRoy, a slalom specialist, former Olympian, and the new head ski coach at the University of Colorado Boulder. Below, LeRoy outlines a preseason regimen to get you powder-ready.

Harden Your Core
A strong torso can be the difference between face-planting when you hit an unexpected patch of ice, crud, or powder and sailing through. A 15- to 20-minute circuit of planks, push-ups, cherry pickers, windshield wipers, and bird dogs two to three times a week will give you the strength to send it with style.

Catch Your Breath
A strong aerobic base means you won’t waste time resting in the lodge. Aim to hike, bike, or run at a slow, steady pace five days out of every seven. If you can raise your heart rate for a total of 150 minutes a week, you’re looking good for the season. Mix in a few fourteeners, too. “If you haven’t been up to elevation all summer,” LeRoy says, “it can be a shock to the system when you get back on the mountain.”

Hit the Stairs
To build the power and conditioning needed for quick legs and springy turns, LeRoy suggests heading to the stairs at Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre or the Manitou Incline for some interval training. Blast up the steps at your max effort for 15 seconds, then walk or jog back down for 60 to 90 seconds to recover. Repeat until you can’t maintain the same pace.

Shake a Leg
Want to rip top-to-bottom runs? You can’t do it without strong legs. Lunges—forward, backward, and sideways—will develop that strength in a large range of motion, along with all-important knee stability. Weighted back squats or Bulgarian split squats target the glutes and the quads, muscles crucial for good form, while hamstring exercises, like curls, will help prevent common injuries, like ACL tears.

Bust Out the Blades
“Skating is about the closest simulation of the forces, angles, and balance required for skiing,” LeRoy says. Carving turns, stopping sideways, and skating backward are great for mimicking the right biomechanics, but simply spending time on ice skates or in-line skates will activate the same muscle groups and hone your balance.

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