With a powder trip to Japan organised for Feb 2015, it's time to get serious about my fitness. I've let my exercise routine slide for a while, concentrating more on gardening chores, spending too much time on the internet and reading books and articles on all sorts of things, and not factoring in a daily time slot for fitness. That's gotta change..
Skiing powder is the holy grail in skiing. It's the soft white stuff that is forgiving, that you won't catch an edge on and go tumbling out of control. But it's also cushioning, it's slower to ski on than harder, icier, firmer snow which means you need a much higher level of dynamic fitness to enjoy it fully, or else you'll just sink and end up with a face full of snow.
Fat skis help, because all that extra surface area will keep you floating versus sinking into the soft stuff. Some old schoolers think the fat skis have gone too far, preferring to still be skiing through the powder rather than floating on top the whole time, but whatever your take, you still can't ski powder without fitness.
Core stability and anaerobic/aerobic fitness is paramount. Anyone can do one or two powder runs, but keeping it up day after day, all day, requires you to to be strong and agile. Neither of which I am at present...
So I've pulled out my ski fitness books and programs, counted up the months till I leave, and started to design myself a program.
First is just working on basic aerobic fitness, which means getting back on a running schedule and riding my bicycle to work and back.
Secondly, core stability exercises. Skiing, and boarding, are done in a very dynamic environment, where the terrain you have your feet on is continually changing. If you can't stabilise what's happening in your legs through your core to your upper body, you'll fall over lots (at best) or injure yourself (at worst). It's also the main reason why some people can ride all day and others can't, because core muscle weakness means you'll tire so much quicker. Quad exercises are a total waste of time if you neglect to build a strong core. Just saying... so daily core exercises are in the program.
Next, agility training. This builds muscle memory for those quick movements and sudden changes in direction that you need to execute when skiing. Having done this training before, I can confirm it makes a big difference on the slopes. Especially as one gets older, this sort of activity doesn't often feature in one's daily life, unless one plays tennis or squash, netball, basketball, or football, so you have to retrain those slack little muscle fibres by doing fast spurts of movements, changing direction quickly, that sort of thing.
Fourth, strength exercises. These are less important right now, but become more important as I work up to the actual trip. I won't be concentrating too much on squats and lunges quite yet, because they'll be a bigger component later.
Finally, flexibility, which is mainly stretching. I'll incorporate some yoga in here too.
So in order for me to commit to this, I'm putting my September stats out there and will post updates each month:
Chest 89cm (this is measured above the boobies)
Waist 81cm (the narrowest bit)
Belly button waist circumference (measured at the level of my belly button) 94.5cm
The challenge is on!!