January is when the ski season really starts to pick up, so why not use the New Year to step up your game? Here are some resolutions to help you make the most of every facet of your skiing, from the backcountry all the way to the hot tub.
Keep Your Fitness Consistent
You spend a lot of time on your pre-season ski conditioning, making sure your quads are strong and your core is tight. But once you start hitting the hills it’s easy to let that slip. Don’t fall off the train; it’s important, for conditioning and injury prevention, to keep working secondary muscles and to keep strengthening the major ones used on the slopes. And don’t forget to stretch, too. It’s easy to go straight for the IPA/hot tub après sesh when you get off the mountain, but do your tired muscles a favor and give them a good stretch first.
Brush-Up on Your Beacon Skills
If you’re a backcountry skier, it’s really easy to ignore your beacon until you put it on to head out into the backcountry. That means your skills might be a little rusty. Make a resolution to practice more. Hide it in the backyard or in the base area when you ski a resort. Make a game of it and make sure you’re fast to find it. Additionally, if you haven’t taken an avalanche class, now is a good time to sign up.
Get Your Boots Fitted
Boots might be the least sexy, part of your ski kit, that doesn’t mean they don’t deserve your attention, though. Take them to a professional boot fitter and get them worked around the particular oddities of your feet. It can be a slightly pricey, but your skiing will improve exponentially and good boots will last for years. The up-front investment is worth it in the long-run.
Poach a Hot Tub
This requires advanced scouting, ballsy-ness, and a good poker face. “Yes, sir, of course I’m staying here at the Ritz. My room key must be in my other robe.”
Nail a Novelty Trick
Maybe it’s something truly impressive like a switch double. Or maybe it’s a tip stand or a fully extended naked spraffy. Regardless of the ability level, it’s always exhilarating to have a crowd pleaser in your repertoire.
Pay it Forward
Do something to spread the stoke. Teach your niece to ski, donate your old gear to a non-profit that takes city kids to the hill, bring the liftie a hot chocolate, or help a mom with a bunch of little kids carry their gear up from the parking lot. There are a lot of very minimal ways you can get people excited about the sport you love.
Wear a Helmet
This one is easy. Get one you like, wear it every time you go skiing. Period.
Invest in Your Bucket List
Always wanted to go heli-skiing in Alaska? Build your dream fund now. Maybe it’s just putting your end of the day change in a jar, or squirreling away $10 a month, but you have to start somewhere. It’s up to you to make it happen.
Up Your Chairlift Game
You know all those random strangers you ride the chairlift with? They’re into the same thing as you, and they probably have some interesting stories to tell. So pull your headphones out and strike up a conversation. If they turn out to be uninteresting, who cares? You’re never going to see them again, so feel free to umm… take creative license with your own story. The semi-true chairlift yarn is one of the oldest traditions in the history of skiing.
Skiing is supposed to be fun, but sometimes that’s easy to forget. So if someone cuts you off in the lift line or your friend forgets his goggles on a powder day, just let it go.