Train Like a Champ

You know that aching, burning feeling you get? The one that makes you want to put on sweatpants and sit on the couch like a miserable furniture gnome?

Yeah, you know… from skiing too hard on opening day?

I never used to get that feeling. Back in my younger years, when I was on my high school racing team and thus forced to sprint up hills and carry pudgy team members around on my back for preseason training, I was basically carved out of stone by the time my skis touched snow. Now… yeah. Not so much.

Now, I’m an adult, which means I have the freedom to eat what I want and exercise when and how I want. I revel in this freedom by eating candy almost exclusively and hitting the gym exactly never. I don’t believe in it. Definitely against my religion.

So, based on my highly vetted credentials, I’m here to tell you how to train for the mountain this year. Tip-top conditioning means fewer injuries, more fun, and a higher likelihood of a full and enjoyable ski season, which all sound awesome, right?

Right. Ok.

Of course, not everyone trains the same, so I’ve come up with three different approaches for getting in shape because I am legit and I care about you. They are, in no particular order:

The Slow and Steady

This one takes considerable foresight and stick-to-it-ive-ness, but the results are unquestionably positive. To use the Slow and Steady training approach, one must be at the mountain on opening day, yes, but one must not get overly ambitious. Baby steps are the name of this game. On opening day, simply park your car at the mountain, view it in all its snow-covered glory, and turn around and go home. You’ve done enough for one day.

Day 2: park your car, open the door, and put your feet on the ground… then go home again. You’re doing great, Champ. I’m proud of you.


After Days 3 (popping your trunk), 4 (shouldering your ski pack), 5 (picking up your skis), 6 (walking halfway across parking lot), 7 (getting all the way to the ski rack outside the lodge), 8 (forcing one half of one foot into the universally feared and hated ski boot), and 9 (fully booting one foot and shedding tears of agony as all circulation is cut off from mid-calf down), you’ll basically be jacked.

Follow this same training regimen all season, and you’ll be skiing top-to-bottom by mid-April. You’ll also be the envy of all your friends because your days-at-the-mountain tally will be in the triple digits. It’s really a win/win method of conditioning.

I know… I’m a genius.

The Legitimate Loser

I’ll be honest with you: this is my least favorite method. I just don’t think it’s that effective. However, it does have some merit among a few circles, so I decided to include it.

To be a Legitimate Loser, one must commit to a healthy lifestyle. One must buy nutritious foods, join a gym and actually go, and be generally health-and-wellness-oriented. Beer? Oh… you mean empty calories? Forget it. Fun? Definitely not.


In theory, with daily nutrition and exercise, you’ll be in adequate shape to hit the slopes without qualms on opening day.

In theory. I guess. Whatever.

The Manimal

Because some people just don’t have the time that the Slow and Steady approach requires or the mental strength for being a Legitimate Loser, I’ve come up with a faster, easier, more condensed method for on-snow conditioning. This approach is incredibly effective… and requires a good amount of feral tendencies mixed in with masochistic leanings.

Yup, that does sound a bit scary, not gonna lie.

The Manimal method is simple: ski like a pack of wolves is after you. Pay no attention to the Consequences Center in your brain; that thing doesn’t know what it’s talking about. Careen around corners, soar off huge kickers, hit the bumps like you’re looking for trouble. Your body is a battering ram. Sore quads? Too bad. Broken arm? Suck it up.


You’re a manimal. Stop whining and start attacking.*

In no time at all, you’ll be in great shape or in the hospital. Either way, you’ll have a good season to look forward to: on the mountain, or of Grey’s Anatomy on Netflix.

Again, a win/win.

No matter what method you choose, remember that everyone has off days. Don’t feel bad about intending to get in shape for the mountain and then cracking a brew and watching football instead. Mental health is as important as physical health on the slopes. It’s all about balance.

And fitness. Fittin’ this whole box of pizza in my mouth.


*Sunday River, especially our fearless patrol team, by no means endorses the Manimal as an effective training tactic. You’ve been warned.