Man & Woman Downhill Skiing

Man & Woman Downhill Skiing

We all know the names: Vail, Breck­en­ridge, Park City, and Big Sky. While these ski resorts are indeed epic, some­times you just want a more per­son­al, tucked-away, local expe­ri­ence with­out sac­ri­fic­ing excep­tion­al ter­rain. If this sounds like your MO this ski sea­son, or in ski sea­sons to come, read on!

Eldo­ra Moun­tain Resort, Colorado 
Locat­ed near the funky town of Ned­er­land, Col­orado just 20 min­utes west of Boul­der, Eldo­ra Moun­tain Resort is a local favorite and is under­go­ing some seri­ous upgrades and rebrand­ing. From its new high-speed lift, Alpen­glow, to its effer­ves­cent pres­ence on social media (#closer­toy­ou), this fam­i­ly-friend­ly resort is cer­tain­ly attempt­ing to attract some big atten­tion. With excel­lent begin­ner and inter­me­di­ate ter­rain for kids, or adults who are brave enough to learn, and more advanced ter­rain that includes tight tree ski­ing and steeps that are sure to please, Eldo­ra is per­fect for any­one who desires a no-frills, all thrills, sol­id moun­tain experience.

Monarch Moun­tain Resort, Colorado
Locat­ed between Sal­i­da and Gun­ni­son, Col­orado at the apex of wind­ing and scenic Monarch Pass, Monarch Moun­tain is a tru­ly unique expe­ri­ence. Two ter­rain parks and over 50 trails ensure that there’s plen­ty of space to shred. How­ev­er, this mountain’s crown jew­el is Mirk­wood: 130 acres of extreme dou­ble black dia­mond ter­rain with trees for days. If you’re look­ing for a place to hang your hat after a long day on the slopes, the Monarch Moun­tain Lodge is locat­ed just 3 miles from the resort and boasts a free shut­tle to the mountain.

Grand Targhee Moun­tain Resort, Wyoming
The beau­ti­ful and under­rat­ed Grand Targhee Moun­tain Resort near Alta, Wyoming doesn’t just offer ski­ing. Snow­shoe­ing, Nordic Tour­ing, and dog sled rides are also pop­u­lar on the hill. Per­haps the most notable fea­ture of the hill is Grand Targhee’s tree ski­ing which allows skiers to dip into stash­es of untracked pow­der. There are also 1,000 ski­able acres reserved for cat ski­ing which means you’ll be able to ditch the peo­ple and get into the back­coun­try with ease.

Teton Range viewed from Grand Targhee

White­fish Ski Resort, Montana
Sit­u­at­ed near Glac­i­er Nation­al Park, White­fish Ski Resort used to boast a ski-bum vibe. Now it’s now shift­ing into a more ele­gant, yet still local ski hill with new eater­ies and brew­eries pop­ping up to enter­tain town­ies and tourists alike. Well-known for being fam­i­ly friend­ly, this resort boasts over 3,000 ski­able acres which are plen­ty for the kids and rip­ping adults who want to go explore. Afford­able lodg­ing and min­i­mal crowds make this an excel­lent place for a fam­i­ly getaway

Soli­tude Moun­tain, Utah
True to its name, this qui­et and afford­able moun­tain offers a no-frills expe­ri­ence for peo­ple whose pri­or­i­ty is to ski excel­lent ter­rain. Peri­od. The bowl ski­ing is par­tic­u­lar­ly excep­tion­al with Hon­ey­comb Canyon offer­ing some of the best turns and panoram­ic bowl ski­ing in Utah. For those who do want a lit­tle “frill” in their life, Soli­tude Vil­lage offers excep­tion­al din­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties and is a great place to retire for an apres-ski bev­er­age after a day of hit­ting it hard. The Soli­tude com­mu­ni­ty is invit­ing, laid back, and there’s no doubt that the locals will out ski you all the live­long day. Locat­ed just 30 miles from Salt Lake City, this is an acces­si­ble moun­tain for vis­i­tors who pre­fer to be close to a city and airport.

As I write this there rain is pelt­ing on the win­dows. My plans for a ski­ing week­end are melt­ing into a giant pile of mushy slush. It’s mid­win­ter, but the snow sea­son is bare­ly get­ting start­ed. News sto­ries say that win­ter Olympic venues may not have enough snow. As we chomp at the bit for ski sea­son, here are some things you can still do.

Hit the Trails…Hard
Hik­ing isn’t just a sum­mer gig. In fact, it’s bet­ter when you don’t over­heat and the trails are emp­ty. Win­ter tem­per­a­tures can be ide­al for the aer­o­bics of hik­ing or trail run­ning, just as they are for nordic ski­ing. There won’t be traf­fic jams at pop­u­lar trail­heads. Just be ready for short­er days, some rain, and mud on the trails.

If there’s not enough snow to ski there’s prob­a­bly rain, espe­cial­ly in the wet Pacif­ic North­west. Water­falls will be spew­ing water far more dra­mat­i­cal­ly than sum­mer trick­les. Even in spots of the Colum­bia Riv­er Gorge, where some areas are closed from last fall’s wild­fires, there are plen­ty of spots still open, espe­cial­ly on the Wash­ing­ton side.

Hang Out with Large Visitors
Every win­ter, gray whales migrate south from their feed­ing grounds in the Bering Sea to their warmer birthing grounds on the west coast of Mex­i­co. Go to a head­land along the west coast (make sure to dress warm). When the whales head south they tend to be a bit fur­ther off­shore than dur­ing north­bound migra­tion, so you’ll want a spot­ting scope.

Win­ter Birds
Birds gath­er in giant flocks in win­ter. Not all birds head for the trop­ics though. There are ener­gy costs and risks when fly­ing that far. Water­fowl con­gre­gate in the low­land marsh­es and riv­er mouths of North Amer­i­ca after migrat­ing south. Eagles and hawks gath­er to feed on what are lit­er­al­ly sit­ting ducks. The bare trees make it easy to spot them.

Prep the Pile
We all know the dis­or­ga­nized scram­bling of the first ski week­end. You’re try­ing to remem­ber where your wax is or real­iz­ing you pulled ski cloth­ing into dif­fer­ent piles for some oth­er trip. You also don’t know who bor­rowed your gog­gles. Get your stuff togeth­er and wax your skis now so you can grab-and-go when the time comes.

Down­hill ski­ing, snow­board­ing, nordic ski­ing, and skate-ski­ing can be a rude awak­en­ing (or an injury) if you haven’t used those mus­cles since last sea­son. Start work­ing out ear­ly. Even if you wait­ed too long for a 6‑week reg­i­men, it’s bet­ter late than nev­er, and it will train your brain too.

cross country skiing

For any­one that has dis­cov­ered the rhythm of a per­fect cross-coun­try ski glide, espe­cial­ly one that takes you fur­ther into a snow-laden wilder­ness, you know how much sat­is­fac­tion can come from Nordic skiing.

To find some of that sat­is­fac­tion your­self, check out any one of the large-scale Nordic races hap­pen­ing across the coun­try this win­ter. Skate or Clas­sic, what­ev­er style you choose, these events pro­vide the ide­al envi­ron­ment to prac­tice your skills, and serve as a per­fect meet­ing ground for the cross-coun­try ski­ing com­mu­ni­ty that makes the sport so spe­cial. From the Amer­i­can Birke­bein­er in Wis­con­sin to the Methow Val­ley Pur­suit of Wash­ing­ton, with a lit­tle help from these excit­ing cross-coun­try ski­ing events hap­pen­ing all sea­son, you can hap­pi­ly glide through the win­ter. For more infor­ma­tion on the fol­low­ing events and more, be sure to check out the Amer­i­can Ski Marathon Series host­ed by the Amer­i­can Cross Coun­try Skiers (ACXS)

Methow Val­ley Pur­suit, Winthrop, Wash­ing­ton—Jan­u­ary 20th-21st
Back­dropped by the rugged peaks of the North Cas­cade Moun­tains, the town of Winthrop and the near­by Methow Val­ley real­ly comes to life in the win­ter. Fea­tur­ing some of the best snow-laden ter­rain you’ll ever ski through, for the cross-coun­try enthu­si­ast, the two-day Methow Val­ley Pur­suit takes you through it all. As part of the larg­er Methow Val­ley Nordic Fes­ti­val, which includes small­er races and a free-to-enjoy 10K, the Methow Val­ley Pur­suit cov­ers 60 kilo­me­ters in two con­sec­u­tive days, draw­ing in hun­dreds of ath­letes every year to this win­ter wonderland.

City of Lakes Lop­pet, Min­neapo­lis, Min­neso­ta—Jan­u­ary 27th-Feb­ru­ary 4th
Serv­ing as a larg­er cel­e­bra­tion for win­ter in the Twin Cities, the City of Lakes Lop­pet fea­tures a 42-km Ski Marathon and a 21-km Half-Marathon as the cen­ter­piece for all the action. Clas­sic and Freestyle skaters are both able to enter, and every­one is encour­aged to check out the snow sculp­tures, Kubb tour­na­ments and Surly beer gar­den as part of the fes­ti­val. The actu­al Lop­pet itself takes skiers through the beau­ti­ful trails that wind through the nat­ur­al spaces, lakes and frozen land­scapes found with­in the twin cities. Whether you go to race or to find some good cheer against the drop­ping tem­per­a­tures, the City of Lakes Lop­pet gives win­ter the adven­tur­ous tone it deserves.

Alley Loop Nordic Marathon, Crest­ed Butte, Col­orado—Feb­ru­ary 3rd
Wind­ing through the back alley­ways and snow cov­ered streets of Crest­ed Butte, the Alley Loop Nordic Marathon isn’t your aver­age ski race. Begin­ning and end­ing on Main Street in the pros­per­ous moun­tain town of Crest­ed Butte, the Alley Loop Nordic Marathon makes its way through down­town, cross­ing bridges, nar­row alleys and a huge gath­er­ing of fes­tive and cos­tumed spec­ta­tors to cheer you on. Once rac­ers are off the streets and onto the out­skirts the town, a large chunk of this 42-km race is then back­dropped by epic Rocky Moun­tain views to effec­tive­ly cheer you on.

cross country skiing

The North Amer­i­can Vasa, Tra­verse City, Michi­gan—Feb­ru­ary 10th-11th
Locat­ed just west of Tra­verse City in North­ern Michi­gan, the North Amer­i­can Vasa takes place in the lus­cious Tra­verse City State For­est, and pro­vides a com­mu­ni­ty-dri­ven day to explore the famous Vasa Path­way. Fea­tur­ing races rang­ing from six-km fam­i­ly events to 51-km freestyle races, as well as long-dis­tance Fat Tire Races, the North Amer­i­can Vasa has appeal for all abil­i­ties of win­ter enthu­si­asts. What­ev­er dis­tance you decide to go, and even if you’re just a spec­ta­tor on the side­lines, the white pines and dense forests of north­ern Michi­gan pro­vide a true win­ter won­der­land to enjoy.

Lake Placid Lop­pet, Lake Placid, New York—Feb­ru­ary 24th
Locat­ed at the site of the 1980 Lake Placid Win­ter Olympics, the Lake Placid Lop­pet offers recre­ation­al and pro­fes­sion­al rac­ers one of the most chal­leng­ing cours­es they’ll find in the east­ern U.S. Thank­ful­ly, rac­ers par­tic­i­pat­ing in either the 50-km or 25-km Lop­pets are spurred on by the stun­ning New Eng­land scenery in the cloak of win­ter. A pre­mier event for this region, the Lake Placid Lop­pet has been doing its thing for more than 30 years. After the race, all par­tic­i­pants gain entry to the Cel­e­bra­tion BBQ & Awards event, ensur­ing every rac­er ends on a high note.

The Amer­i­can Birke­bein­er, Cable, Wis­con­sin—Feb­ru­ary 24th
Stretch­ing for 50 kilo­me­ters from Hay­ward, Wis­con­sin, to Cable, Wis­con­sin, the Amer­i­can Birke­bein­er is North America’s largest cross-coun­try ski marathon, and one of the pre­miere events of the entire win­ter sea­son. Tens of thou­sands of skiers line up to tack­le the Birkie each year, and while not all of them make it to the fin­ish­line, every­one has good rea­son to cel­e­brate. Serv­ing more as an enthu­si­as­tic ode to win­ter, the week sur­round­ing this leg­endary event is filled with snow-inspired events includ­ing the Barkie Birkie Ski­jor for the canines and the Barnebirkie for the small­est racers.

Yel­low­stone Ren­dezvous, West Yel­low­stone, Wyoming—March 3rd
Locat­ed in the town of West Yel­low­stone, which serves as a gate­way com­mu­ni­ty into Yel­low­stone Nation­al Park, the Yel­low­stone Ren­dezvous brings togeth­er all types of skiers for a vari­ety of events and races. Whether it’s your first time in the area or you’re a long-time res­i­dent, skiers have the choice between six races rang­ing from a 2K to a 50K at the Yel­low­stone Ren­dezvous. Occur­ring near the end of the ski year, the Yel­low­stone Ren­dezvous can real­ly put a good cap onto the sea­son, and with such prox­im­i­ty to the Nation­al Park, it pro­vides an easy out­let for even more adventure.

Tour of Anchor­age, Anchor­age Alas­ka—March 4th
While some cross-coun­try ski des­ti­na­tions might face dwin­dling snow con­di­tions come March, Anchor­age doesn’t have to wor­ry about that. To tru­ly expe­ri­ence this snow-laden south­ern part of Alas­ka, the Tour of Anchor­age can point you in a few good direc­tions. Fea­tur­ing four dif­fer­ent rac­ing cat­e­gories, includ­ing 25k, 40k and 50k freestyle events, the Tour of Anchor­age lends big views of Mount McKin­ley, prox­im­i­ty to the Pacif­ic Ocean and a vari­ety of trails that line and define the city of Anchor­age. After explor­ing all that Anchor­age has to offer via skis, par­tic­i­pants are encour­aged with a free beer to stay for the after party.

If the thought of fresh snow falling on the moun­tain doesn’t excite you, then this win­ter could be a long one.

For the rest of the cold-blood­ed pow­der hounds out there, the first signs of snow mean only one thing: that Open­ing Day isn’t far away. Whether you’re down­hill appetite con­sists of a full plate of Breck­en­ridge and Vail, or per­haps a heap­ing serv­ing of Park City or Mam­moth Moun­tain fur­ther West, wher­ev­er you like to ride, there’s no deny­ing the excite­ment that open­ing day brings to the table. To cap­i­tal­ize on the chang­ing weath­er and impend­ing snow­fall, here are the pro­ject­ed dates for some of the county’s biggest ski resorts—and some win­ter trail­ers to get you ready to shred.

Mam­moth Moun­tain Ski Area, Cal­i­for­nia: Novem­ber 9
Serv­ing as one of the best ski resorts in Cal­i­for­nia, Mam­moth Moun­tain Ski Area of the Sier­ra Neva­da moun­tain range boasts big ter­rain, beau­ti­ful views and a long ski­ing sea­son. The begin­ning of it all begins Novem­ber 9th, mak­ing it one of the ear­li­er open­ing dates in the coun­try. Check it out at the start, the mid­dle and the end, and Mam­moth Moun­tain will deliv­er the expe­ri­ence for which it’s named.

Breck­en­ridge Ski Resort, Col­orado: Novem­ber 10
Fea­tur­ing var­ied high-alpine ter­rain, Breck­en­ridge Ski Resort is anoth­er dia­mond of the Col­orado ski indus­try, and with the com­bi­na­tion of the adjoin­ing moun­tain town of Breck, this all-around moun­tain envi­ron­ment real­ly throws a par­ty on open­ing day. While the snow might not be its deep­est in Breck­en­ridge by Novem­ber 10, the com­mu­ni­ty is still full-spir­it­ed, and the groom­ing can guide you along like a racetrack.

Win­ter Park Resort, Col­orado: Novem­ber 15
In oper­a­tion 20 years shy of a cen­tu­ry, Win­ter Park Resort has long ago fig­ured out how to cap­ture the excite­ment of open­ing day. Spread out between Mary Jane Moun­tain and Win­ter Park Moun­tain, Win­ter Park Resort offers over 3,000 ski­able acres to explore and plen­ty of trails for all lev­els of skiers. To catch the first wave of a long ski sea­son at Win­ter Park, get your boards waxed and ready to go by Novem­ber 15.

Grand Targhee Resort, Wyoming: Novem­ber 16
Sit­u­at­ed near the bor­der of Wyoming and Mon­tana, Grand Targhee Resort is world-famous for its deep pow­der, laid-back atmos­phere and scenery that can’t be beat any­where else in the low­er 48. Com­prised of two moun­tains spread over 2,600 ski­able acres, the excite­ment of Grand Targhee Resort begins Novem­ber 16. If open­ing day is any­thing like it was the year pri­or, those pow­der hounds might be able to get their fix ear­ly this year.

Park City Moun­tain Resort, Utah: Novem­ber 17
Just on the out­skirts of Salt Lake City, Park City Moun­tain Resort serves up 347 named trails spread out over 7,000 ski­able acres, lend­ing towards sea­son after sea­son of new ter­rain to explore. Park City is aim­ing to open Novem­ber 17th with groomed trails and access to as many of their 41 lifts as pos­si­ble, plus a lit­tle cel­e­bra­tion to go along­side all the good ski­ing. Com­plete your stay with a night out on the moun­tain or at the near­by Park City, and your open­ing-day cel­e­bra­tions can con­tin­ue well into the night.

Vail Moun­tain Resort, Col­orado: Novem­ber 17
Serv­ing as one of the many Holy Grails of ski­ing in the Col­orado back­coun­try, with­out a doubt there will be a line to get the first ski-lift at Vail this year. With over 5,000 ski­able acres to explore, includ­ing sev­en leg­endary back bowls that skiers can lit­er­al­ly get lost in, Vail draws in big crowds through­out the win­ter, and has many peo­ple count­ing down until Novem­ber 17, when they’re pro­ject­ed to open the slopes.

Snow­bird, Utah: Novem­ber 22
Con­nect­ed and locat­ed near Alta Ski Area, to real­ly uti­lize these two pre­miere ski des­ti­na­tions in Utah, it’s rec­om­mend secur­ing the Alta-Snow­bird Ski Pass. To get your first taste of the ter­rain that either of these two ski moun­tains pro­vide, head on over to the base of Snow­bird on Novem­ber 22nd and take in the fes­tiv­i­ties. Fea­tur­ing fresh groom­ing, good music and only the tip of the win­ter ice­berg, Snow­bird and Alta set a high bar for down­hill ski­ing and the fun that go along­side it.

Big Sky Resort, Mon­tana: Novem­ber 23
Not far out from the col­le­giate city of Boze­man, Big Sky Resort beck­ons stu­dents, com­mu­ni­ty mem­bers and trav­el­ers from across the world to some first-class Mon­tana moun­tain rid­ing. Com­pris­ing of over 5,750 acres of ski­able ter­rain, split between over 30 lifts, Big Sky Resort pro­vides enough space to explore on your own even dur­ing peak sea­son. Big Sky’s open­ing day is aim­ing to be Novem­ber 23, 2017, and will serve as a sweet way to start of the win­ter season.

Aspen Snow­mass, Col­orado: Novem­ber 23
With over 5,000 acres of ski­able ter­rain between four dif­fer­ent moun­tains, the Aspen Snow­mass expe­ri­ence is mas­sive. Aspen Moun­tain and Snow­mass are aim­ing to open the slopes come Novem­ber 3rd, while But­ter­milk and Aspen High­lands will gain access lat­er in the year. Sure to be big a par­ty and prob­a­bly a decent lift line, Aspen Snow­mass will con­tin­ue to the excite­ment through­out the win­ter sea­son and halfway into autumn.

Jack­son Hole Moun­tain Resort, Wyoming: Novem­ber 25
While any time of year is a great time to vis­it Jack­son Hole and the sur­round­ing Grand Tetons, come win­ter time, and specif­i­cal­ly Novem­ber 25 this year, there’s only one thing on everyone’s mind. It’s the stun­ning atmos­phere that attracts peo­ple to Jack­son Hole, and it’s the world-class ski­ing that makes them nev­er want to leave. Fea­tur­ing two moun­tains to explore and a ver­ti­cal drop of more than 4,000 feet, Jack­son Hole is home to some extreme ter­rain and great lodg­ing, mak­ing for a great time when­ev­er you visit.

What would 270 miles of solo trav­el do for you? Kalen Thorien, pro­fes­sion­al ski­er and adven­tur­er extra­or­di­naire, finds a new kind of con­fi­dence while dis­cov­er­ing what it feels like to be tru­ly wild and free on a 18-day, self-sup­port­ed tra­verse through the Sier­ra Nevadas. Fol­low­ing her highs and lows from a first-per­son per­spec­tive, Out in the Sier­ra doc­u­ments all the emo­tions that come with the phys­i­cal exer­tion and tri­als and tribu­la­tions of life on the trail.

The beau­ty of deep pow­der in the moun­tains; if you are like me, you seek out this feel­ing to all ends, rel­ish­ing in the joy that comes with every floaty turn. In many cas­es, the quest for the goods takes you off the ski runs and into the trees; and while the snow may be deep and plen­ti­ful in the woods, there is also a hid­den dan­ger: tree wells.

When it snows in the trees, the branch­es around will cause the snow near the trunk to be much less dense than the snow­pack around it. This isn’t any rock­et sci­ence; the fact that the branch­es pre­vent the snow from hit­ting the ground means there won’t be as much snow as where it can fall straight down. But it’s in the appear­ance of look­ing full and packed that is the real dan­ger. Some­times there can be sig­nif­i­cant­ly less vol­ume of snow in a tree well. Sad­ly many peo­ple don’t real­ize this until it’s too late and they find them­selves upside down.

If this is you or a friend you are skiing/riding with it can be a fright­en­ing sit­u­a­tion. It’s true that quick action is need­ed, but pan­ick­ing will not help any­thing. Take these steps into con­sid­er­a­tion and you will get out to ride anoth­er day.

Step 1: Be Prepared
This hap­pens before even set­ting out on the slopes. But hav­ing a few items handy will pre­pare you for the worst, and make any res­cue efforts much eas­i­er. If you are in cell recep­tion, hav­ing a phone with a full charge will allow you to call for help. Some­times in the cold the bat­tery life is dras­ti­cal­ly short­ened; if your phone is like this you might want to invest in a bat­tery pack, or at least leave the phone pow­ered off for when you need it.

Oth­er items to have handy are a small piece of rope or nylon web­bing that can fit in your pock­et. We’ll talk about that lat­er. If you are using a back­pack, a small col­lapsi­ble shov­el will be well worth bring­ing along for many rea­sons, tree well res­cue included.

max-kramer-216296Step 2: Remain Calm
This holds true whether you are the vic­tim or the res­cuer. If you have fall­en in, the num­ber one thing you have to do is not move around too much, as this can allow more snow to fall around you and poten­tial­ly block an air­way. Many tree well relat­ed deaths are due to suf­fo­ca­tion because of this fact. If you are the res­cuer, remind the vic­tim to stay calm, and that help is here. As the res­cuer, be sure to take a few deep breaths and pro­ceed slow­ly and method­i­cal­ly; rush­ing through will nev­er help the sit­u­a­tion. In fact, it could even make mat­ters worse if you mis­step and endan­ger yourself.

When there are oth­ers present, send for help if you don’t have cell phone recep­tion. If you do have recep­tion, then every­one should stay togeth­er once the call has been made to coop­er­ate toward a rescue.

If help is on the way and the vic­tim is not in any sharp pain and can talk to you, don’t try any­thing until trained help arrives. You do not want to make the prob­lem worse. Some­times the best thing you can do is make sure nobody else gets in har­m’s way and place your skis or board in the snow uphill of the tree to give peo­ple ample warn­ing there is a human in the snow.

Step 3: Pull the per­son down­hill using what­ev­er tools available
If the vic­tim is not respond­ing then you need to do what you can to get them out as soon as pos­si­ble. If you do have a shov­el, you can make things eas­i­er dig­ging down to the lev­el of the vic­tim down­hill of the tree. Then pulling them to safe­ty will be a breeze. If you do not have a shov­el, then do what you can to get them out safe­ly. Hav­ing rope or web­bing handy will allow you to tie onto the vic­tim and pull them out, usu­al­ly by the feet.

If they have skis or a board on, you will want to deter­mine if remov­ing their skis/board from their feet will speed up the process or slow it down. Some­times the boards pro­vide some­thing to hold onto, and some­times it is so buried in the snow that it only com­pli­cates things. It will be total­ly sit­u­a­tion­al as to what happens.

Hope­ful­ly by read­ing this you will see the grav­i­ty of the sit­u­a­tion and avoid the trees after a big snow dump. If you do decide to go in the trees, make sure you are with­in sight of a bud­dy at all times. If the worst case sce­nario does hap­pen, at least you will be as pre­pared as possible.

©istockphoto/simonkrFrom Jack­son Hole to Whistler, it’s dump­ing snow. The Rock­ies are receiv­ing unprece­dent­ed amounts of snow­fall much to the glee of skiers and board­ers. What bet­ter time to test your lim­its and chal­lenge your abil­i­ties in new and excit­ing ways? Here are some ideas if this sea­son is all about going hard­er and hav­ing more fun.

Make it the “Sea­son of Many Mountains”
Per­haps you only make it to one or two of the same moun­tains each sea­son and you’re inter­est­ed in see­ing more. While financ­ing a mul­ti-moun­tain adven­ture can be pricey, plan­ning can ensure that you ski many moun­tains with­out break­ing your bank. Check for deals online, crash on couch­es, and chase pow­der for a sea­son. Some moun­tains to con­sid­er include Pur­ga­to­ry Resort in Duran­go, Col­orado Grand Targhee Resort in Alta, Wyoming, and White­fish Moun­tain Resort in White­fish, Montana.

Hone Your Avalanche Skills
The record snow­fall in areas means that avalanch­es are a con­cern both in and out-of-bounds. Even if you are an avid back­coun­try ski­er with tons of avalanche knowl­edge, it nev­er hurts to sharp­en your skills. Attend an avalanche clin­ic, test your bea­cons, and be extra alert when ski­ing steep and deep ter­rain. The more knowl­edge and expe­ri­ence you acquire, the hard­er you can safe­ly push your­self on snow. For lady shred­ders, be sure to check out local­ly host­ed She­Jumps avid clin­ics for some excel­lent train­ing with an all-girls group.

Skip the Lift
There are sev­er­al resorts that allow for uphill trav­el if you want the safe­ty of inbound ski­ing but the car­dio­vas­cu­lar chal­lenge that uphill presents. If you’re look­ing for a great lit­tle hole-in-the-wall moun­tain, Eldo­ra Moun­tain Resort in Col­orado just recent­ly opened uphill access this sea­son, so check their web­site for the details. After all, some­times there’s noth­ing bet­ter than skin­ning to the top of some­thing and blast­ing down.

Put Away the Tech­nol­o­gy and Just Ski
In the age of GoPro edits, minute-to-minute Insta­gram updates, and self­ie-sticks, it can be tempt­ing to con­stant­ly doc­u­ment your adven­tures. While shar­ing your love of win­ter with the world is a per­son­al choice, it can often be a chal­lenge to leave the cell­phone in your pock­et and just soak up the resort or back­coun­try cam­era free.

Unless you’re Jim­my Chin, who should nev­er be with­out a cam­era because his pho­tographs are pure mag­ic, con­sid­er leav­ing the devices at home for the day, the entire week, or even your whole trip. Make some mem­o­ries that are sole­ly for you and the peo­ple you’re shar­ing them with. Find oth­er ways to doc­u­ment your adven­tures, such as writ­ing them down in a jour­nal or paint­ing your favorite line of the sea­son from memory.

More impor­tant­ly, val­ue the expe­ri­ence and fun of ski­ing over the num­bers. Instead of track­ing how much ver­ti­cal you got, keep track of the laughs you had on the moun­tain. Take a break from rip­ping to check out a cool ski-in moun­tain bar like the one at Cop­per Moun­tain Resort just below the Amer­i­can Fly­er lift; it’s about the size of a train car, serves pip­ing hot waf­fles, with walls lit­er­al­ly cov­ered in dol­lar bills (tips from patrons). You can’t find gems like that unless you stop to smell the roses…or waf­fles, in this case.

One of the biggest chal­lenges of our age is to slow down, look around, and breathe. Per­haps this is just the chal­lenge you’re look­ing for this season.

©istockphoto/microgenTeach­ing a boyfriend, girl­friend, hus­band or wife to ski (par­tic­u­lar­ly if you’re an expert) can be chal­leng­ing and can require a lot of patience.

The first thing you should do if you’re gonna dive head­first into teach­ing your part­ner is to ask your­self if you believe you have the abil­i­ty and the lev­el-head to be a teacher on the slopes. If the answer is “yes”, then here are some oth­er tips to ensure that the learn­ing expe­ri­ence is pos­i­tive and lov­ing for both of you.

Be Encour­ag­ing Always
There are going to be times when you get frus­trat­ed with your part­ner. That’s ok. What’s not ok is say­ing neg­a­tive or belit­tling things like, “Why aren’t you get­ting this?” or “You’re being a baby. Just do it.” 

Keep it pos­i­tive and hon­est. Give them real feed­back that is free of emo­tion such as:

“That was a real­ly flu­id turn.”

“Try to keep your knees bent a bit more and loosen up your body.”

“Make sure to look down­hill instead of just at your skis.” 

“Great effort today. You’re catch­ing on.” 

Don’t Com­pare Their Learn­ing Expe­ri­ence to Yours
Chances are, you learned to ski when you were young or in your teens. Some­thing to under­stand before teach­ing an adult is that grown-ups often learn very dif­fer­ent­ly than chil­dren and teenagers.

For chil­dren and teens, the ele­ment of fun typ­i­cal­ly trumps any fear they might have.

How­ev­er, for adults, fun is often sec­ondary to the fear and self-con­scious­ness that they will expe­ri­ence when learn­ing this new (and very phys­i­cal­ly demand­ing) sport.

As such, don’t say things like:

“This was so easy for me when I learned. I don’t under­stand why you’re not pick­ing it up.” 

In fact, don’t tell them that any­thing is “easy” or that they will “catch on quick­ly” because you have no idea what their learn­ing curve will be. They may catch on and start rip­ping groomers the first few days, while pow­der ski­ing or trees might throw them for a loop.

Let them learn at their own pace and don’t com­pare, encourage.

Take Time-Outs
If you’re both get­ting frus­trat­ed, take a break. Imme­di­ate­ly. Go eat. Go drink. Even call it a day if need be. Ski­ing is sup­posed to be fun and is meant to bring you clos­er togeth­er. If the oppo­site is occur­ring, press pause.

Buy Them a Lesson
Once they’ve got­ten to the point where they need more direct and pro­fes­sion­al instruc­tion, maybe con­sid­er buy­ing them a les­son. Ski instruc­tors can often make a mediocre ski­er a damn good ski­er in one or two lessons sim­ply by com­ment­ing on form and by being a neu­tral observer.

Be able to rec­og­nize when it’s time to let the true experts take over and your sig­nif­i­cant oth­er will thank you. Not to men­tion, the entire goal is for your part­ner to be able to ski WITH you, so a les­son or two is one step clos­er to that goal.

alyeska alaska

Give your win­ter quest for fresh pow­der an ele­ment of the unex­pect­ed by vis­it­ing one of these unique inter­na­tion­al ski resorts.

Skiing in Dizin, IranDizin Ski Resort, Iran
Sit­u­at­ed north of Tehran on the Alborz Moun­tain Rage, Dizin is one of the world’s high­est ele­va­tion snow resorts (11,800 ft). That high alti­tude gives the resort a long season—November through May—so even as that spring thaw arrives in most of the world, here you can con­tin­ue shred­ding snow to your heart’s content.

alyeska alaskaAlyeska, Alas­ka
If Dizin is note­wor­thy as one of the high­est highs, Aly­se­ka has the hon­or of being among the very few sea-lev­el ski resorts in the world. Yes, Alas­ka is just such a cold and rugged place that it pro­vides a top-notch expe­ri­ence with­out the nose-bleed induc­ing ele­va­tion. With 1,610 ski­able acres and more than 669 inch­es of annu­al snow­fall, pow­der seek­ers will find all they could wish for at this frosty haven.

hlidarfjallHlíðar­f­jall, Iceland
Snow-cov­ered moun­tains are beau­ti­ful any way you slice it, but in Ice­land, you can spend all day out on your board and all night search­ing the skies for the north­ern lights. The nat­ur­al spec­ta­cle is matched by the qual­i­ty of the pow­der in this breath­tak­ing top-of-the-world par­adise. A mix of slopes and cross-coun­try tracks pro­vides con­di­tions for any preference.

GulmargGul­marg, Kashmir
The quest for per­fect ter­rain and con­di­tions is a big part of the ski expe­ri­ence. Humans will go to great lengths—and heights—for a mem­o­rable day on the slopes. Enter Gul­marg, whose gon­do­la will take you a ver­tig­i­nous 13,000 feet above sea lev­el to access some of the finest pow­der any­where in the world.

Giv­en the ten­sions between India and Pak­istan, it’s a volatile region. But for its nat­ur­al won­ders and its cul­tur­al diver­si­ty alike, this is one you won’t want to miss.

Whakapapa skifield on Mount RuapehuMount Ruape­hu, New Zealand
New Zealand boasts some of the most dra­mat­ic ter­rain in the world. No sur­prise, then, that one of the nation’s most pop­u­lar ski regions is atop an active vol­cano. The dynam­ic nature of the topog­ra­phy makes Mount Ruape­hu a mem­o­rable spot to tack­le the snow, but just as impor­tant as the geog­ra­phy is the guid­ing phi­los­o­phy of this spe­cial place.

Unlike most well-devel­oped resorts, the ski zones here are quite pub­licly acces­si­ble, with lots of great descents to choose from. Ski and board rentals are avail­able, as are afford­able resort pack­ages that include lodg­ing and meals. Be pre­pared to share in the cook­ing and chores, though; the do-it-your­self com­po­nent helps keep over­head low. And the shared respon­si­bil­i­ty makes the expe­ri­ence unique­ly communal.

masikryongMasikry­ong, North Korea
Yes, the most inac­ces­si­ble nation on Earth hosts a ski resort. And the con­di­tions on the moun­tain are stel­lar. The geo­graph­i­cal sit­u­a­tion of the resort makes for light, fresh powder.

There’s sure to be a spare, remote beau­ty in this place so large­ly shut off from the wider world. But if you man­age to arrange a vis­it, you’ll be assailed by large video-screen pro­pa­gan­da at every cor­ner in the resort—and by the knowl­edge that your $30 lift tick­et costs more than any local can afford.

kids skiing

kids skiingSo, you’ve got kids. Or nieces and nephews. Or your friends have kids. Either way, there are kids cur­rent­ly hap­pen­ing in your life and, if not prop­er­ly trained, they can put a major damper on your ski sea­son. Not only are the lit­tler ones typ­i­cal­ly slow, but they’re also winey, acci­dent prone, and dirty. Right?

They don’t have to be. If you start them young, have a lit­tle patience and a good sense of humor, you might find that you actu­al­ly like ski­ing with kids, you own or not.

Here’s how.

Teach Dili­gence

If kid­dos are gonna ski with you, they have to under­stand that it’s a fun but seri­ous thing that takes plan­ning and prepa­ra­tion. No mat­ter how young, there are a few things you can do to help them be proac­tive about skiing:

  • Have them help with food prep for moun­tain lunches.
  • Involve them in pack­ing their ski bags and main­tain­ing their gear.
  • Help them get into a good rou­tine of going to bed ear­ly so they can wake up ear­ly for skiing.

Teach Them the Language 

If they’re old enough to speak, then they’re old enough to start adding ski relat­ed words to their vocab­u­lary. In the doc­u­men­tary “McConkey”, Shane McConkey’s moth­er lov­ing­ly remem­bers how she would strap Shane to her body on pow­der days and he would coo, “Pow, mom­my, pow!” and “Bump, mom­my, bump!”

Giv­ing them the lan­guage of ski­ing ear­ly-on will help to instill a love for ski­ing that they can draw upon later.

Start with these terms:

  • Boots, bind­ings, poles, hel­met, and goggles
  • Greens, blues, blacks, dou­ble blacks
  • Moguls
  • Tree ski­ing

And, the most beau­ti­ful word of all…

  • Pow­der

First Things First 

So, you’ve built a base but where do you start?

Start with safe­ty and respect.
When you get them on the hill, talk about who has the right-of-way and teach them to always make sure they’re pay­ing atten­tion to their sur­round­ings. Set bound­aries for them so they know where they need to stay in rela­tion to you. Be calm. Then do this:

Teach them to pizza-pie
Then buy them an edgie-wedgie. It’s the most won­der­ful thing you’ll ever do for your kid and it will prob­a­bly make your life a lot eas­i­er. They may only need it for two or three days, but the $5 is worth it). In fact, the author of this arti­cle learned to ski at the age of 27 and rocked an edgie-wedgie for the first 3 days with­out shame.

Teach This Later 

After they’ve got their piz­za-pie and their edgie-wedgie is pro­duc­ing flu­id turns with ski tips togeth­er, now is the time to remove the edgie wedgie and teach them the following:

  • Prop­er ski form
  • How to uti­lize their edges
  • How to con­trol their speed

One of the best visu­al aids out there for this is Ski School by Elate Media which has dozens of videos bro­ken into ski­er lev­el: begin­ner, inter­me­di­ate, expert, etc. Watch these before tak­ing your kid­do out to see how these begin­ner tech­niques can be bro­ken down and practiced.

Instill Safe­ty and Independence 

At first, they’re going to be com­plete­ly depen­dent on you but you’ll be sur­prised at how quick­ly kids pick up var­i­ous tech­niques. Once they’re ski­ing becomes more con­fi­dent, their flu­id­i­ty improves, and you’re notic­ing few­er falls on green and blue runs, it’s time to cul­ti­vate some inde­pen­dence by doing the following:

  • Show them ski maps and quiz them on what the sym­bols mean so that, even­tu­al­ly, they can ski safe­ly and inde­pen­dent­ly on the mountain.
  • Have them show you, on the resort map, the route they would take to get to the base of the moun­tain should you get separated.
  • If they’re old enough and car­ry a cell­phone, make sure they have ski-patrol’s num­ber for all of the moun­tains you frequent.

Final­ly, if they’ve demon­strat­ed enough skill and matu­ri­ty, let them go on few runs alone. Set up an agreed upon ren­dezvous point and meet there after. Your heart might skip a few beats wait­ing for them but, in the end, you’re rais­ing a rip­per.

avalanche tips

avalanche tipsAn esti­mat­ed 150 peo­ple per year die in avalanch­es in North Amer­i­ca, a sta­tis­tic that’s made even more hor­ri­fy­ing con­sid­er­ing the rel­a­tive­ly small num­bers of peo­ple who ven­ture into avalanche-prone ter­rain. As you gear up for your out­door adven­tures this win­ter, keep these tips in mind.

Learn To Read Terrain
As you start to ven­ture into the side­coun­try, keep in mind that no mat­ter how acces­si­ble an area might be from a ski resort, it can still hold all the dan­gers as the full-on back­coun­try. Treat unpa­trolled areas with respect, and learn to rec­og­nize ter­rain traps and slide paths. Do you know what slope angles are most like­ly to slide? If you were hit by an avalanche, what’s below you—trees? A cliff? A smooth runout?

Get Edu­cat­ed
The gold stan­dard for edu­ca­tion in snow safe­ty is the Amer­i­can Insti­tute for Avalanche Research and Edu­ca­tion (AIARE), who offer cours­es at Lev­els 1, 2, and 3. The first lev­el, “Deci­sion Mak­ing in Avalanche Ter­rain,” is a 3‑day, 24-hour course that was specif­i­cal­ly designed for recre­ation­al back­coun­try users like skiers, snow­board­ers, and hik­ers on snow­shoes. Stu­dents learn how to pre­pare for and exe­cute trips, under­stand basic deci­sion-mak­ing in the field, and res­cue tech­niques required to find and dig out a buried per­son if an avalanche occurs.

Pay Atten­tion To What’s Hap­pen­ing Locally 
Check­ing local avalanche forecasts—which you can find through the Amer­i­can Avalanche Asso­ci­a­tion—is a great way to get a gen­er­al sense of what’s hap­pen­ing in your region. Pay atten­tion to recent weath­er, and avoid avalanche ter­rain with­in 24 hours of a storm that brings a foot (30 cen­time­ters) or more of fresh snow, which is when slides are most com­mon. Check local trip reports. Ask ques­tions. Stay engaged with the moun­tains as much as possible.

Wear a Helmet
Every year brings new gear tech­nol­o­gy and inno­va­tion: inflat­able back­packs, fan­cy probes, light­weight shov­els. Effi­ca­cy rates vary (and they always increase with prop­er train­ing), but experts agree that there’s one piece of gear they nev­er trav­el with­out: the brain buck­et. Buy a hel­met. Wear it. Every sin­gle time.

Under­stand the Risks
Even the best back­coun­try trav­el­ers know that there’s always some risk. “You can do every­thing right and still get caught in an avalanche,” says Jeff Lane, a Snow Ranger at the Mount Wash­ing­ton Avalanche Cen­ter in New Hamp­shire. “Edu­cate your­self and make good decisions—but if you’re going to ski or climb or trav­el in avalanche ter­rain, you’ll have to accept that you can’t be right 100% of the time.” Be pre­pared, stay safe, and always make con­ser­v­a­tive deci­sions. And remind your­self: that sick line will be there anoth­er day.

For more infor­ma­tion, check out Stay­ing Alive in Avalanche Ter­rain, Sec­ond Edi­tion (by Bruce Trem­per), Allen & Mike’s Avalanche Book (by Mike Clel­land and Allen O’Bannon) and Avalanche Essen­tials (by Bruce Tremper.) 

©istockphoto/VisualCommunicationsYes, we’re halfway to win­ter. Per­haps more than half way in some places, and it’s time to get seri­ous about work­ing out. No doubt, you’ve prob­a­bly been moun­tain bik­ing, hik­ing, and maybe some climb­ing mixed in there, but there’s always more that can be done to ensure you’re strong and injury-free this sea­son. Read on.

Bands and Foam Rollers
Elas­tic bands and foam rollers are used reli­gious­ly by phys­i­cal ther­a­pists to turn tight ten­dons and mus­cles into sup­ple pow­er­hous­es while also rolling out any knots or aches. These items are inex­pen­sive and can typ­i­cal­ly be found at your gym, so there’s no excuse for not uti­liz­ing their heal­ing abilities.

Try to incor­po­rate stretch­ing and rolling into your dai­ly work­out rou­tine and pay close atten­tion to your IT bands, glutes, quads, and the areas around your knees.

Bosu Balls
Bal­ance, core strength, and sta­bil­i­ty are extreme­ly impor­tant for skiers (and board­ers). A nifty lit­tle device, the Bosu Ball (also found at most gyms) is an excel­lent way to train for the slopes.

Try rou­tines con­sist­ing of two-legged squats, one-legged squats, and lunges.

Trail Run­ning and Hiking 
To gain sta­bil­i­ty and sta­mi­na, hik­ing and train run­ning are excel­lent activ­i­ties for skiers. Par­tic­u­lar­ly, the down­hill hik­ing or run­ning sim­u­lates some of the same move­ments and stances found in ski­ing and help to build ankle, quad, and glute strength. Just be sure to take care of those knees, as they can take a major beat­ing on the downhill.

Yoga and Swimming
These two exer­cis­es are par­tic­u­lar­ly amaz­ing if you are com­ing back from an injury. Both are low-impact, regen­er­a­tive, and, sim­ply put, they just feel good.

Ski­ing requires con­sid­er­able car­dio, which is where swim­ming can help. Yoga strength­ens, sta­bi­lizes, and helps work out any per­sis­tent kinks in your body: all impor­tant for float­ing in pow­der. Not to men­tion, your body can real­ly take a beat­ing dur­ing the win­ter months, so par­tic­i­pat­ing in restora­tive exer­cise is a must.

Many out­door enthu­si­asts scoff when you men­tion weight-train­ing. Their log­ic? The wilder­ness pro­vides them with all of the exer­cise they need. Fair enough, but don’t be too quick to dis­miss hit­ting the indoor gym. There are plen­ty of machines that can dra­mat­i­cal­ly enhance your strength, includ­ing the seat­ed leg-press which is excel­lent for your quads, glutes, and can help build knee strength and stability.

The Rou­tine
Alright, so here’s some­thing to try. Instead of moun­tain bik­ing or run­ning every day, why not incor­po­rate all of the above into your rou­tine for two weeks and see how it feels: Yoga and swim­ming one day, weight train­ing and the Bosu Ball the next, a good hike or trail run mid-week, then rip it up with your favorite sport(s) through­out the week­end. Be sure to foam roll and use elas­tic bands throughout.

If you incor­po­rate all of these exer­cis­es, there’s no doubt you’ll be health­i­er and stronger come sea­son ski.

Léo Taille­fer, GoPro’s $20,000 Line of the Win­ter win­ner, makes tight chutes look play­ful and effortless.

For those of you dream­ing of blue­bird days and fresh lines, here’s the video to hold you over for a few more months.

Win­ter is coming. 

Let’s be honest—we’d all like to be War­ren Miller.

His is the sto­ry of a ski bum gone right. Like many win­ter chasers, he’s paid his dues liv­ing in a trail­er in a ski resort town and eat­ing ketchup soup, but he’s man­aged to work his way to fame and for­tune with­out hav­ing to resort to cubi­cle life. Along the way, he’s also pro­duced some epic ski films—a few that prob­a­bly got you hooked on ski­ing in a big way.

He’s Been Mak­ing Ski Films Since Before You Were Born
War­ren Miller has been film­ing epic ski films since he acquired his first 8 mm video cam­era back in 1946, where he filmed his first shots in Alta and in Sun Val­ley, Idaho.

At first, he filmed him­self and his fel­low ski instruc­tors to help them per­fect their ski­ing tech­niques. He’d also film his bud­dies surf­ing dur­ing sum­mers spent in his home state of Cal­i­for­nia. Just a few years lat­er in 1959, he found­ed War­ren Miller Enter­tain­ment which has released one fea­ture-length ski film every year since.

You’d Actu­al­ly Want to Lis­ten to His Sto­ries
You might get a lit­tle antsy when your grand­pa starts lay­ing down his “back in the day” sto­ries but Miller’s are actu­al­ly awe­some. He’s been heliski­ing since 1969. He watched Howard Head invent alu­minum skis. He remem­bers a time when ski groomers didn’t exist. You may even want to pick up one of his books.

He Can Over­come Dra­ma
HE doesn’t actu­al­ly own War­ren Miller Enter­tain­ment anymore—his son bought the com­pa­ny and even­tu­al­ly sold it to Time Warn­er which, in turn, sold it to the Bon­nier Group. A nasty 2009 law­suit claimed that Miller didn’t actu­al­ly own the rights to his own name, voice and like­ness after he made an appear­ance in (gasp) anoth­er company’s ski films. The suit was set­tled and he’s basi­cal­ly no longer allowed to be involved in any oth­er ski film. Ever.

Instead of being dis­cour­aged, he turned his atten­tion to oth­er projects—a book of ski pho­tog­ra­phy, sto­ry­telling ses­sions, an auto­bi­og­ra­phy, and his foundation.

He Wants to Help Make Your Dreams Come True
The War­ren Miller Free­dom Foun­da­tion, con­ceived by his wife, Lau­rie, is an orga­ni­za­tion that has helped more than 3,000 peo­ple get start­ed as entre­pre­neurs and busi­ness own­ers. The Foun­da­tion offers lessons for both young stu­dents and adults, equip­ping them with the tools they need to set their own dreams in motion. It’s a per­fect fit—after all, War­ren is the ulti­mate entrepreneur.

He’s Still Liv­ing the Life
These days, you can find Miller tucked away in Wash­ing­ton State’s San Juan Islands—not too far from some choice ski hills. He spends part of the year on the slopes in Mon­tana and a lot of time cruis­ing on his 47-foot yacht. Yep, he’s doing alright.

He’s a Walk­ing Quote Book
We’ll leave you with just a few clas­sic Millerisms:

“Don’t take life seri­ous­ly because you can’t come out alive.”

“The best place in the word to ski is where you’re ski­ing that day.”

“If you don’t do it this year, you will be one year old­er when you do.”

“If I ask any­body who learned to ski after the age of five, they can remem­ber their first day of skiing—what the weath­er was like, who they went with, what they had for lunch. I believe that’s because that first day on skis was the first day of total free­dom in their life.”


Skiers may not real­ize the impor­tance mobil­i­ty and flex­i­bil­i­ty plays into improv­ing func­tion, range of motion, and per­for­mance. Ade­quate flex­i­bil­i­ty, espe­cial­ly in the hips, allows for bet­ter speed, turns, and cuts. The post-ski stretch is an impor­tant fac­tor in main­tain­ing mobil­i­ty through­out the kinet­ic chain. Before you hit the hot tub or bar, be sure to spend a few min­utes stretching

Hold each pose for 30 to 45 sec­onds. If the stretch is one-sided, repeat the stretch on the alter­nate side.

Stand­ing Strad­dle Stretch
Pur­pose: Length­ens gluteal, ham­string, and calf mus­cles
How to Per­form: Stand in a wide legged stance (feet four feet apart). Keep toes fac­ing for­ward, hinge at the hips and place hands on the shins or ground. The fold­ing for­ward is depen­dent upon the body’s cur­rent flexibility. 

Stand­ing Side Lunge
Pur­pose: Length­ens inner thighs
How to Per­form: Stand in a wide legged stance (feet four feet apart). Keep toes fac­ing for­ward, hinge at the hips and bend your right knee for­ward. Keep the left leg straight. Rest hands on the right quad or on the floor, depend­ing on your flex­i­bil­i­ty. Return to cen­ter and repeat on the oppo­site leg.


Stand­ing Quad Stretch
Pur­pose: Length­ens the quadri­ceps mus­cle
How to Per­form: Stand tall and place the right foot into the right hand. Hold the inside part of the right foot (where the big toe is). Bal­ance, or use a wall to sup­port the one-legged stance. Keep the inner thighs par­al­lel. Repeat on the oppo­site leg.

Stand­ing Chest Open­er
Pur­pose: Opens the chest mus­cu­la­ture, ante­ri­or shoul­der and latis­simus dor­si mus­cles
How to Per­form: Stand tall with feet hip dis­tance apart. Lift arms over­head and inter­lock fin­gers. Place hands behind head and let the elbows open to the side. Hold to a point to where you can feel a stretch in the chest region.

Supine Hand to Foot
Pur­pose: Length­ens gluteal, ham­strings and calf mus­cles
How to Per­form: Lie on the ground and place a strap or tow­el around the right foot. Extend the right leg toward the ceil­ing and keep the left leg flat on the ground. Hold to a where you feel a stretch. Repeat on the oppo­site leg.

Supine Hand to Foot: Out­er Thigh
Pur­pose: Length­ens exter­nal rota­tors
How to Per­form: Lie on the ground and place a strap or tow­el around the right foot. Extend the right leg toward the ceil­ing and keep the left leg flat on the ground. Hold to a where you feel a stretch. Cross the right leg over the body, toward the left. The stretch should be felt in the lat­er­al region of the right gluteal. Return to cen­ter and repeat on the oppo­site side.

Lying Spinal Twist
Pur­pose: Increas­es mobil­i­ty through­out the chest, tor­so and hip
How to Per­form: Lie on your back with feet on the floor. Place arms on the ground at shoul­der height. Slow­ly, low­er knees to the right and rotate the head to the left. Hold, return to cen­ter and repeat on the oppo­site side.


Ever vis­it­ed British Colum­bia? If not, the next ques­tion begs being asked. What are you wait­ing for? There’s no short­age of epic adven­ture when explor­ing out­door activ­i­ties in British Colum­bia. You’re miss­ing all of this:


Climb in Squamish
Every sum­mer, thou­sands of climbers from around the world vis­it Squamish to test them­selves on the cliffs and boul­ders. The result is a vibrant climb­ing scene best known for its fin­ger and hand cracks. Con­sid­er hir­ing a guide from Squamish Rock Guides or anoth­er local com­pa­ny. Squamish is also a go-to des­ti­na­tion for moun­tain bik­ing, paraglid­ing, raft­ing, and kiteboarding.

Cycle in Stan­ley Park

The 1,001-acre park is next to down­town Van­cou­ver, so it’s an easy escape from the bus­tle of the big city. Con­sid­er rent­ing bikes and going for a ride on the sea wall that runs around the out­side of the park. Also, stop to check out the aquarium.

Hike the Lions
This is a seri­ous under­tak­ing. The Lions are the two most famil­iar peaks seen from the City of Van­cou­ver. Look­ing up at them is noth­ing com­pared to the view look­ing down from on top.


Surf in Tofino
There’s no surf­ing in Cana­da, right? Wrong. Tofino!

On the Rugged West Coast of Van­cou­ver Island, there are a dozen surf shops and schools offer­ing lessons and gear to get you out in the mighty Pacif­ic. In recent years, Tofi­no has built a rep­u­ta­tion as a tourist des­ti­na­tion, but not so much as to detract from the casu­al demeanor of the relaxed beach-side town. If surf­ing isn’t your game, check out the sea kayak­ing or whale watch­ing tours where you might see Grey or Hump­back whales.

Bath in Har­ri­son Hot Springs
At the south­ern end of Har­ri­son Lake, ther­mal springs leave the ground and are cap­tured in pools for your bathing con­ve­nience. The “Potash” springs have a tem­per­a­ture of 104°F, and the “Sul­phur” springs of 149°F. Both have a remark­ably high con­cen­tra­tion of dis­solved min­er­al solids at 1300 ppm.

Fer­ry to Gabriola 
Much small­er the Gulf Islands pop­u­late the straight of Geor­gia between the main­land and the larg­er Van­cou­ver Island. These ocean­ic gems are places worth the vis­it. Gabri­o­la’s most ancient cul­ture can be viewed through the lens of pet­ro­glyphs carved by First Nations. The island is also home to a num­ber of mod­ern art gal­leries fea­tur­ing work from eclec­tic local artists.


Pick Fruit in the Okanagan
The fer­tile land of the Okana­gan Val­ley grows plen­ty of tree fruits like cher­ries, peach­es, apri­cots, plums, as well as blue­ber­ries, rasp­ber­ries, and corn. Go there, pick your own fruit and stop by a vine­yard to get some wine for later.

Ski in Whistler
In list­ing out­door activ­i­ties in British Colum­bia, we’d be remiss not to men­tion this one. Whistler is a world-class ski­ing des­ti­na­tion before the 2010 win­ter games insti­gat­ed facil­i­ty improve­ments to match the nat­ur­al won­ders of the sur­round­ing moun­tains. The ski sea­son in Whistler typ­i­cal­ly begins around the third week­end in Novem­ber and extends into April. Be sure to also check out the vil­lage. It’s a bit like Dis­ney­land, but for adults.