Gearing Up and Shaping Up for Ski SeasonSarah Innerarity
As the golden leaves turn to autumn snow in the Colorado mountains, anticipation begins for the ski season ahead.
Opening day is just around the corner for many of Colorado’s most loved resorts, so guests and locals alike have a few weeks to prepare for skiing and snowboarding. Click here to see a list of every opening date for ski resorts in Colorado.
The fall shoulder season is the optimal time to get in ski shape. Gyms and fitness studios offer specialized classes with an emphasis on lunges, squats, and other progressive leg work in the weeks leading up to on-mountain activities. Many residents of mountain communities swap their hiking boots and bikes for in-line skates or a Pilates reformer to increase leg strength and flexibility. With the bases of Colorado resorts at 8,000 feet or higher, cardio endurance is critical, so skiers and riders are encouraged to increase their jogging mileage or lap distance in the pool to ramp up for days in the snow.
With physical conditioning underway, another step is to prepare ski and snowboard gear for days spent on the slopes. From ski tuning to waxing, a local ski shop can get your quiver ready for powder days. Boots can be refurbished with new insoles and loose bindings can be repaired prior to Opening Day, and helmets should be replaced every five years. Fall is also an ideal time to ensure that your ski jacket, pants, and accessories are ready for action. With changing conditions in the high country, it’s important to dress in layers as temperatures can vary widely throughout the day. Wool socks keep feet dryer and warmer than cotton, and proper base layers are key to staying comfortable from opening to closing bell Look for goggles with anti-fog features and UV protection and keep the visible light transmission (VLT) in mind. VLT is the percentage of light that moves through your lenses and reaches your eyes. On a bright sunny day, VLT under 25% is ideal, but with partly cloudy conditions VLT of 25%-50% will be best. In stormy or low-light scenarios, VLT over 50% will help you navigate the slopes. Interchangeable lenses make it a snap to swap out lenses mid-run as the weather changes on the mountain.
Off-season deals abound at local ski swaps, where clothing and gear can be bought and sold at discounted prices, which is especially helpful for children who typically outgrow their gear each season. Local retailers including Christy Sports have locations throughout the resort communities, and they offer ski rentals, tuning, and clothing and gear for all ages. Advance reservations are recommended for ski rentals, especially during peak visitation during holidays. Online shopping options include REI, Backcountry, and Patagonia to stock up on all the necessities before enjoying the mountains.