Personal trainer offers tips for ski conditioning
October 24, 2006
Whether shes riding a mountain bike during the fall and summer months or skiing during winter, there simply is no better place to play or live than Lake Tahoe as far as Robin Barnes is concerned.Barnes, a 19-year Lake Tahoe resident, is a personal trainer who operates Tahoe Outdoor Fitness, and enjoys her work. She enjoys sharing that knowledge and enthusiasm for the area with others. And now that winter is approaching, Barnes is working to help local skiers get ready for winter by instructing a month-long ski conditioning class sponsored by the Douglas County Parks and Recreation Department at Kahle Community Center at Stateline.Classes are held three days a week Tuesday and Thursday afternoons at 5:30 p.m. and Saturday mornings at 9:30 a.m. Theres no doubt, the Saturday morning classes conducted outside weather permitting, of course among the autumn colors are her favorite.Its an exquisite backdrop for your stage, she said after class on Saturday.Just as Lake Tahoe is an exquisite backdrop for Heavenly, where Barnes works as a Professional Ski Instructors of America (PSIA)-certified instructor. Her objective is to help skiers enjoy that backdrop and their experience on the mountain. And it all starts right now with conditioning, so they dont have to spend the next two days in pain after hitting the slopes early in the season.Talking about being fit only gets you so far, she said.Just look online at Heavenlys instructor profiles (http://www.skiheavenly.com), at her list of favorite things to do on-hill help others make breakthroughs; make breakthroughs myself. In the past, Barnes has been recognized on Ski Magazines Top 100 Instructor List. Just the feedback I get from the classes, she said. I think what I love about them the most is being able to get people to do things they didnt think they could do, or things they hadnt done in a long while.Barnes tries to achieve two primary objectives during the classes to improve a students fitness level and athleticism. Agility and speed drills are used to achieve both of those goals. Balance is emphasized through such drills as standing on one leg (with your eyes closed) and heel-toe walking.Other areas of focus include balancing and core strengthening activities. Barnes emphasized the importance of the core muscles the abdominals and obliques, as well as the lower, mid and upper back muscles. Paramount, she said. The wheels kind of fall off the cart when those go.Barnes also puts students through drills that simulate conditions they will experience when actually skiing. We do movements that try to emulate what youll be doing on the hill. Youre training your body to do the same types of movements, she said. Students even practice falling.Today, we practiced rolling on the ground, she said. Not all of skiing is about standing up. We all fall. This way is a way of simulating what happens, so you dont panic and tighten up when you do fall.For that reason, Barnes considers riding a mountain bike to be good training for skiing.Its great for skiing, she said of mountain biking. It keeps the legs strong and keeps the cardiovascular system involved. It also helps you learn to make good tactical decisions, to look ahead and plan your line. It helps you learn to be a little more deliberate and plan where your ski tips are going to go.Barnes grew up in Massachusetts and has spent extensive time as a ski instructor in Chile. However, she says there is something special about Lake Tahoe.Thats why I live here. There are other places where its steeper and deeper … but you dont get as many days like this, she said, flashing a smile as she glanced around on an ideal autumn day.
What: Douglas County Parks & Recreation ski conditioning classWhere: Kahle Community CenterWhen: Tuesday and Thursday, 5:30-6:30 p.m.; Saturday 9:30-10:30 a.m.Cost: $10 per class or $135 for all sessions. Drop-ins are welcome.Instructor: Robin BarnesWhat: Nordic walking classWhen: Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 9 a.m.Where: Locations vary from class to class. Call (530) 318-7121 to reserve a spot in class.Info: tahoeoutdoorfitness.com