Warm up the body before hitting slopes | SierraSun.com

Warm up the body before hitting slopes

Dave Price
Sierra Nevada Media Group

Here we are in mid-November … the fall colors have fallen … snow is in the forecast … and, of course, the traditional Thanksgiving opening for ski season is near.

So, are you ready for that first day on the mountain?

Sam Bauman and Austin Angell are avid skiers who know all about how exciting that first run of the season can be. Likewise, they are well versed on the pitfalls of not preparing properly.

Angell, 65, is a familiar face around South Lake Tahoe as a distance runner who has run on the big stages of the Boston and New York City marathons (Tahiti, too), and for the three decades-plus he put in as a middle school cross country running coach. Whether running a race or getting ready for that first run on the snow, he has one bit of advice ” warm up.

Don’t just rely on that walk from the parking lot to the lift line to get loose. It’s surprising how a lot of people, even those who are advanced, forget this basic concept. Do some stretching. Do trunk twisters to loosen your back and shoulders. It does make a difference when it comes to the prevention of tweaking your back, especially the lower back, or your hamstrings, shoulders, calves and ankles.

“It’s easy to pull back muscles, especially in your lower back,” Angell said.

And don’t take on that tough run right off the bat. Try an easy run to start out and use it as a warmup. Build up from there and maybe make your fifth run more of a challenge.

This is especially true for those who aren’t, shall we say, as young as we used to be. Once into the 45- to 50-year-old age range, it gets to be harder to ski yourself into shape as the season goes along. The older body isn’t as resilient as it used to be, though with the proper care, you’re going to be just fine.

Bauman, a long-time ski journalist who spent 12 years as a ski instructor, is eager to start this new season ” at 78 years young.

“I don’t know if it keeps you young, but it keeps you going,” said Bauman, a Carson City resident who formerly lived on the South Shore.

Even knee surgery four years ago wasn’t enough to deter him.

“I was skiing six weeks after my knee surgery,” Bauman said. “If you have knee problems, take it easy. Go slow until you feel like you’re up to reasonable speed. Test it; if it hurts, stop.”

One key, he advises: Stay in shape year-round.

“I work out 45 minutes to an hour every day,” Bauman said.

“I don’t expect I’ll ever quit skiing as long as I am still able. I have slowed down somewhat. As you get older, your response times weaken and your physical capabilities decline, but it’s better than the alternative, which is not to ski at all.”

Dave Price is a sportswriter and page designer for the Sierra Nevada Media Group and the Sierra Sun. He can be reached at dprice@sierrasun.com or (775) 882-2111, ext. 362.