PARK CITY — Winter Vinecki is going for gold in South Korea next year. She trains all summer on water ramps. What she does now is critical.
"In those in-between weeks when there's not quite snow yet, we use that time to boost up our strength and conditioning," said Vinecki, an aerialist on the U.S. Freestyle Ski Team.
Working out before hitting the slopes is important for all of us. "They just think that their day-to-day activities will prepare them, and when they get out they're kind of in for a world of hurt," said Brett Bousquet, a physical therapist with Intermountain Park City Hospital.
He said not being prepared increases the risk of injury. "If you don't have the appropriate range of motion or the appropriate strength, absolutely, your body will learn to compensate in one way or another."
Bousquet helped Whitney Gardner with the USA Ski Cross Team, heal from injuries. "Your out-of-season training is critical to your performance in the winter," she said.
Bousquet said anyone can do strength training from home using an inexpensive, elastic band available at most sporting goods stores. Even just 10 minutes a day will help.
"Definitely squats and getting your quads really strong is important," he said.
Vinecki recommends running for endurance and core exercises, like sit-ups and planks, help for strength and control. "One of my favorite exercises is probably just doing squats because leg strength is so important for landing in our sport, and one of my least favorites is probably burpees. A burpee is where you jump down onto the ground, do a push-up, jump back up to your feet and jump up with your feet in the air. It's not the most pleasant thing ever," Vinecki said.
But for most of us, it doesn't have to be complicated. "As long as you get off the couch and start moving, you're going to be better off than if you just sit around and not do anything," Bousquet said.
So this winter, don't hibernate. "When everyone else is calling it quits, you'll be able to be out there enjoying the rest of the snow," he said, recommending trying a new sport like snowshoeing.
Intermountain Park City Hospital offers a ski conditioning program. For more information visit their website.