Ready, Set, Ski!

Winter is right around the corner—start prepping now

breck-lake-chutes

LIFT OFF Powder days at resorts like Breckenridge are just weeks away. Photo by Liam D Cran/Vail Resorts

Fresh powder is thrilling enough on its own. But factor in the Winter Olympics and the huge role Colorado’s mountains are playing in qualifying events, and we’re looking at an epic 2017–18 ski season. Here are some tips on prepping for it, plus a few fun things to do. Winter? We’re ready for you.

BE PREPARED
SHAPE UP.
The best way to get fit for the slopes? Do lunges, says Tyler Spraul, an exercise.com C.S.C.S.-certified head trainer. Forward and walking lunges strengthen your quads, reverse lunges build up your hamstrings and glutes and side lunges help your hip flexors and overall hip health. “They will also build up your endurance and resilience, so if you do wipe out, you’ll be less likely to get hurt and end up missing prime skiing time,” Spraul says.

GEAR UP. Check out these products:
Custom skis made from trees. Meier Skis are made from sustainably sourced Colorado aspen and pine beetle kill wood and can be customized with anything from a favorite piece of art to your business logo.
Fog-fighting goggles. Smith Phenom Turbo Fan snow goggles allow you to see clearly—no glare, no fog—thanks to a hightech turbo exhaust fan.
Avalanche Airbag Pack. The Arc’teryx Voltair 30 is a solid investment for those who ski in the backcountry. Arc’teryx, 250 Columbine St.

GET YOUR PASSES. Colorado Ski Country USA has rounded up the pass options at its member ski areas; go to coloradoski.com/season-passes. For Vail Resorts, visit epicpass.com. Have kids? Don’t forget every fifth grader gets three free days of skiing at 21 participating resorts, while every sixth grader gets four days of skiing at 20 resorts for $105. coloradoski.com/passport

BRUSH UP ON AVALANCHE SAFETY. Planning to ski in the backcountry? Heed these tips from the U.S. Forest Service National Avalanche Center:
Get training. Here in Colorado, you can enroll in avalanche safety trainings, clinics and hut trips through Colorado Mountain College. Find more classes through the American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education.
Check out conditions at your destination. Avalanche terrain is any slope steeper than 30 degrees. In general, most avalanches occur during storms or during the 24 to 48 hours following one. Because avalanche conditions can change quickly, check danger ratings.
Be safe. You need a transceiver, shovel and probe; it’s also smart to invest in an airbag pack.

PRE-BOOK YOUR RIDE UP THE HILL. Tickets for the Amtrak Winter Park Express train from Union Station to Winter Park Resort are on sale, with prices as low as $29 each way. The service starts January 5 and will run every Saturday and Sunday through March 25, plus two Fridays, February 2 and March 2.

HAVE SOME FUN
REACH FOR THE GOLD.
Some of the world’s best winter athletes will compete in Colorado this winter to win bids to the 2018 Winter Olympics, held February 9-25 in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Here’s the schedule as of press time:
Copper Mountain: December 6: half-pipe skiing qualification; December 7: half-pipe snowboarding qualification; December 8: half-pipe skiing finals; big air snowboarding qualification; December 9: half-pipe snowboarding finals; December 10: big air snowboarding finals
Snowmass: January 10: Half-pipe skiing and slope-style snowboarding qualification; January 11: slope-style skiing and half-pipe snowboarding qualification; January 12: half-pipe skiing and slope-style snowboarding finals; January 13: slope-style skiing and half-pipe snowboarding finals; January 14: slope-style skiing qualification and finals
Breckenridge (Dew Tour): December 15: Slope-style skiing and halfpipe snowboarding finals; December 16: half-pipe skiing and slope-style snowboarding finals.

RIDE A MOUNTAIN COASTER. There’s a new way to tear down the slopes—via coaster. This season, Aspen Snowmass, Copper, Purgatory and Steamboat are debuting roller coasters that take thrilling turns and dips yearround, says Chris Linsmayer, public affairs manager for Colorado Ski Country USA. They’re a fun alternative for families who want to take a day or an afternoon off from skiing.

GO CAVING. Paragon Guides monitor snow conditions in the backcountry around Park Hyatt Beaver Creek, and, when the time is right, build an annual snow cave. Handcrafted in a bank of packed snow, the insulated dome can fit 10 people. The upscale fort was once reserved for hut trips, but this season, resort guests can get in on the experience, which includes dinner, spirits and a campfire with s’mores. 

NO WONDER I-70 IS SO CRAZY: There were 7.3 million skier visits at Colorado Ski Country USA’s 22 member ski areas in the 2016-17 season (the second best season on record and up 6 percent over the five-year average).

GEAR GUIDE

meier-skis

Meier “Loveland Ski Area” custom skis, $795

smith-turbo-goggles

Smith “Phenom Turbo Fan” snow goggles, $210, at smithoptics.com

flylow-unicorn-mitten

Flylow women’s “Unicorn Mitt” leather mittens, $50

arcteryx-avalance-pack

Arc’teryx “Voltair 30” avalanche airbag pack, $1,300, at Arc’teryx, 250 Columbine St.

never-summer-board

Never Summer “West” all-mountain snowboard, $570

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