Hello Fellow SnowPros!
Can you believe it’s the middle of September already?!
The leaves are already changing here in Southern Vermont, which always leads me to think more seriously about the pre-season “essentials” check list. As the alpine examiner coach, I thought it would be helpful to offer a few suggestions, actions you can take, to prepare yourself for an injury-free and positive experience this winter. As we all know our profession is multi-faceted (whether you’re in it full-time or part-time). You are an athlete and more. You are an educator and motivator. So, it’s with these three areas that I’d like to suggest getting a jump-start to the season by doing these few things:
Build your core strength:
About a month ago Angelo Ross (ETS) told me about this Plank challenge he was doing and I thought it was kind of cool too. It doesn’t matter what your sliding tool of choice is- we all need core strength and stability.
If you haven’t done planks then you’ll see the benefits. With that said, if you are new to planks, start with 30 seconds rather than 45 seconds per set. No need to get injured right away! And I will tell you that while it’s technically a “30 Day Challenge” if you feel sore in between the days, give yourself more time to recoup and then start up where you left off. These 5 minutes or so of planks get progressively harder but keep with it. If you’ve done planks, then this should be a no-brainer, and a quick 3 sets to incorporate into what you’re already doing.
Build your mental focus:
The second challenge is more of a mind game, or at least a way to practice being more present- minded. Simply count as high as you can (one Mississippi, two Mississippi and so on) until you are distracted. The goal is to get to five hundred. In one shot. Think it’s easy? FYI, I’ve made it as far as 103, at which point I started to ruminate on the lyrics to a song.
Why this? Think about how often we must focus, I mean really focus, on what someone else is saying. How good are your listening skills? Can you be attentive for long periods of time without needing to check your phone?
Becoming a better skier, rider, teacher (fill in the blank) takes realistic goal setting, a plan and then discipline and the ability to focus on taking steps necessary to achieving that goal. I believe with a little mental exercise we all can do better. Once again, the exercise is to simply count to 500 (that’s only 8.33 minutes). FYI, think about how long a typical lesson lasts. Do the math.
Build your passion:
I think it’s fair to say that at some point in your life you came across an inspiring story based on someone else’s path and struggle. Inspiring stories happen every day, in the ski world or not. Find a story that moves you to a more positive, better place. This can be as simple as going on YouTube and watching a skier or rider make a gnarly run look effortless. It can also be someone else’s experience on how working as a snowsports instructor helped them through a difficult time. I look for these stories daily. Here’s one that I recently found that makes me feel grateful for the opportunities I have to do what I love.
Winter is coming and we want you to ski, ride and teach to your potential.
See you on the hill!
Sue Kramer is a PSIA-E Alpine Examiner, current PSIA-E Alpine Examiner Coach, as well as a USSS Clinician and Level 3 Coach.