Let it Snow 

As the first snowfall of the season dusted the Treasure Valley last month, some residents winced in fear of another cold winter. But for snow lovers and winter sports enthusiasts, it was a reason to dance with glee as they anxiously watched the weather reports, waiting for the storms to begin to brew, and filling the void with the latest ski porn movies.

But rather than just wait for the hill to open, why not get ready for the season physically?

The excitement over first tracks of the season often becomes a dull memory in the wake of burning thighs and aching quads, leaving skiers hobbling for a week after that first run. Worse, failing to get in shape can lead to season-ending injuries.

But with that in mind, there are a few things skiers and boarders can do to not only avoid injuries, but also mitigate the pain and get to top form earlier in the season.

Boise Therapeutic Associates physical therapy clinic is helping its clients get ahead of the curve with two preseason ski fitness classes designed to target the muscles used in winter sports beginning Monday, Nov. 17.

The class will run from 6-7 p.m. every Monday at the clinic on the corner of State and 15th streets. A $5 donation to the Bogus Basin Nordic Team and Bogus Basin Ski Education Foundation is requested. A second session will be offered Monday evenings in December through Dec. 22 and will be run on a flat-rate fee.

Rob Barnes, director of BTA, said that while the second session will build on the first, it will still include basic exercises anyone can do.

The class will be taught by Jessica Smith-Blockley, a staff therapist and a former Dartmouth Nordic team member. She is also a certified strength and conditioning specialist and volunteers as an assistant coach for the Bogus Basin Nordic Team.

Whether at home or in the gym, Barnes said any exercise regimen should focus on hip flexibility, balance and coordination, strength, speed and endurance. A steady combination of yoga stretches, one-legged hops, leg presses, calve raises and squats, lateral pull downs, abdominal exercises and a steady cardiovascular routine can help any athlete build his or her skill set.

For those winter sport enthusiasts with hectic schedules, Barnes has posted a winter sports home program on the clinic's Web site at therapeuticassociates.com.

"Each workout should start with a light warm-up of gentle flexible movements and some dynamic stretching, followed by some weight-bearing strengthening and plyometric core-stability exercises," Barnes said.

He also advocates sport-specific target areas. Including additional abduction and adduction exercises for snowboarders and more lateral pull-downs and arm-strengthening movements for skiers.

And even though they burn, those butt- and thigh-inflaming torturous squats are a necessary evil in any preseason workout.

Regardless of recreational discipline, most winter recreationists believe preseason ski and gear sales are a crucial part of preparation.

One of the oldest and most popular events is the annual Boise Ski Swap, which is marking its 58th year. The event will be held Nov. 6-9 at Expo Idaho in Garden City. A $3 admission charge will give skiers and boarders a chance to sell their old gear and/or pick up some new stuff—new to them at least. Check out BW's calendar of events for more information.

So, get out there and do those snow dances, chant those mantras and stay pumped because winter is on its way.

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