When you are planning your family summer outings and looking for things to do, places to hike or mountain bike, don't forget your favorite ski resort.
Make it a point to check out all the summer activities available at ski resorts as you may be pleasantly surprised at all the features many resorts offer during the summer and early fall seasons.
Most any kind of summer fun and activities are available at many ski resorts including mountain biking, hiking, boating and water sports, camps for kids and adults, concerts and much, much more.
The local resort areas offer the clean, cool mountain air and a calendar of events and activities to choose from that are only a short drive away. The major destination ski resorts around the country swing into summer with a host of similar activites and events that bring in world class entertainment, arts and artists - and offer summer lodging and packages that you will find hard to resist.
If you have never hiked around a ski resort, or rode lifts, gondolas or trams in the summer, believe me, it's a whole new experience. Pack a lunch and take long, leisure walks through the resort trails. for a little more excitement, ride a mountain bike down one of those easy "blue square groomers" you used to rip up in the winter then tell me how easy it is!
Remember - the more support we give our ski resorts in the off-season can only help the area expand and improve winter facilities.
Read More: Summer Ski Resort Activities
Photo Copyright Mike Doyle
It's much easier to get back on the slopes at top level fitness if you keep skiing fit all year round. Review these off-season skiing fitness articles which relate the benefits of summer and fall sports such as biking, hiking, strength training, and swimming to help ensure you're staying in shape for ski season.
For starters, I have been advised on a more comprehensive approach to off-season training that focuses on "periodization." As it sounds, periodization is a training term that coaches and trainers use to schedule certain sets of exercises into calendar periods leading up to the first day on the snow.
To maximize the effects of the initial training I have been told to work with a professional Personal Trainer (PT). A Personal Trainer can be very useful for everything from designing a personal exercise program to providing serious motivation.
So, if you want to follow this routine along with me, start asking around the gym, the Y, or ask knowledgeable friends for the names of trainers that are recommended. If all this sounds a little much, don't worry, you'll see that this plan works for professional athletes of all sports, for training PSIA instructors, and for the regular skiers like you and I who just want to be at our best for skiing.
- Off-Season Fitness and Training
- Strength Training for Better Skiing
- Swimming to Keep Ski Muscles Fit
- Resistance Band Training for Flexibility
Image Copyright Mike Doyle
This week let's take a look back at the Sochi 2014 Olympic women's alpine races. In the midst of all the excitement of the Olympic games sometimes it seems the races all run into each other.
This is compounded by the fact that the time difference was so stretched that for most of us all we received was replay of the alpine races of which we already knew the outcome.
I think it's good to take a look back and review the individual contests and at least get a little more in depth knowledge of who finished in the top ten of each race.
To that end here's a look at the top ten finisher's in each of the women's 2014 Sochi Olympic alpine races:
- Women's Sochi 2014 Olympic Downhill
- Women's Sochi 2014 Olympic super G
- Women's Sochi 2014 super Combined
- Women's Sochi 2014 Giant Slalom
- Women's Sochi 2014 Slalom
Mikaela Shriffin with 2014 FIS World Cup Slalom Globe and Sochi Olympic Slalom Gold Copyright Alexis Boichard/Agence /Getty Images Sport
This past ski season, I was really surprised by the growing number of skiers who were trying cross country skiing for the first time. The golf course near my home is converted each winter into a looping, groomed series of trails that are excellent for learning how to cross country ski. Lessons are provided each morning and afternoon.
All season long, every time I passed the bunny area, there seemed to be anywhere from a few couples to whole families, and social groups lined up and learning to balance on skinny skis.
If you judge the popularity of a sport by the focus that well-known brand manufacturers are putting on research and development, you'll be pleasantly surprised to learn that cross country skis, boots, poles and apparel getting a lot of attention. Rossignol, in particular, is leading a reassessment of resources geared at the cross country market and will be debuting some cool looking CC gear for 2014-15.
I think much of this attention to cross country skiing may be an outgrowth of the growing popularity of alpine touring, but no matter why it's becoming more popular, cross country skiing is good for the mind, body and soul. The sport puts you outside in nature, where winding your way through forest trails or even over a golf course offers a great opportunity to enjoy the beauty of winter - not to mention the excellent workout your body is getting.
One person who genuinely knows and appreciates the best of cross country skiing is Thom Perkins. Thom was the Executive Director of the largest cross country ski area in the Eastern United States for thirty-eight years and is one of the founders, a former president and current Board Member Emeritus of Cross Country Ski Areas Association.
Thom is bringing his knowledge and love of the sport of Cross Country skiing to About.com Skiing readers with a series of articles discussing the how, where, when and much more about the sport. Read Thom's How to Get Started Cross Country Skiing, bookmark it and check back soon for more about Cross Country from Thom Perkins.
Copyright Ascent X Media / Taxi / Getty Images
I talked about the semantic difference between what we generally call 'backcountry' and what we call 'sidecountry' and the most important thing to remember is that when you exit the resort through an open gate you are in effect in unpatrolled terrain not subject to avalanche control work.
Now the dilemma arises, especially in the west. There have been several strong spring storm cycles and there is plenty of good looking, tempting snow - but most of the ski areas have ceased operation.
Of course, hiking and skinning up is going to happen so, cut to the chase - no more semantics - it's all backcountry. Skiing on steep terrain in the boundaries of a closed ski area that is not performing avalanche mitigation work can be as dangerous as backcountry.
In fact, after a major spring snowstorm with high water content, the terrain that has been subject to avalanche control work in the past may be more apt to slide under the effect of a human trigger because it's now set on a relative persistent slab of snow that had been subject to sun and refreeze.
So, the bottom line after the resorts cease operations is to treat all terrain in and around a closed ski area as 'backcountry.' Check your local Avalanche Advisories, be aware of and stay clear of terrain traps, don't ski it alone and tell someone where you are going.
If you are thinking of skinning and skiing a closed ski are don't just listen to my warning. Heed this, from the Utah Avalanche Center, "Remember, most of the ski resorts are closed for the season with no avalanche control, so treat it just like backcountry terrain."
Be avalanche smart and avalanche safe, and erase that sense of imagined 'sidecountry' safety that still prompts people to exit resort gates and ski closed resorts without the minimum avalanche first responder gear - avalanche beacon, probe, shovel - and a partner.
Photo Copyright Mike Doyle
Saturday, May 3, 2014 marks the 192nd day in operation for Killington Resort. That adds up to over six months of skiing and riding, and made it possible for skiers and riders to ski 8 out of 12 months of the year; and there is no end in near sight.
"Killington is approaching day 200 of this season, and we are excited for yet another May on snow," said Killington Communications Manager Michael Joseph. "We received over four inches of fresh snow last week and remain optimistic about our spring skiing outlook; so much so that we have not yet set a closing date."
Jay Peak's bragging rights don't stop at being open in May. They have the most terrain open with 38 trails and an average of 15-30" of base snowpack.
"No one up here can remember ever having close to 50% of our trails open in May," said Jay Peak's JJ Toland. "Even the duct tape-wrapped diehards are ready to see some grass. We're all ready for a nap."
But don't think Vermont resorts are starting to hibernate in spring. Sugarbush will be opening their golf course along with re-opening 18 trails on Saturday so you can get the best of both worlds.
"To be able to stay open this late into the season with 18 trails is amazing," said Sugarbush Communications Coordinator John Bleh. "Not only that, but our golf course is opening this weekend, so we'll have 18 trails to ski and 18 holes to golf!"
Killington Copyright Mike Doyle
The Intrawest Passport™ is the first-ever Ski Pass to Redefine "Family Pass" and will offer children 12 and under free skiing, as well as redefine what a "Family Pass" is all about.
Intrawest Resorts Holdings, Inc., the parent company of several North American ski resorts, announced today the introduction of The Intrawest Passport™, a season pass that includes six days of skiing at each of six participating North American ski resorts.
The Intrawest Passport™, a first of its kind in the industry, is designed to make destination skiing easier and offer more flexibility and value for families in the 2014-2015 season.
"Times are changing and so is the traditional family structure. Intrawest understands those changes," said Bill Jensen, CEO, Intrawest Resorts. "Whether you're a traditional, single parent, or tri-generational family we've created The Intrawest Passport™ to give your family the most flexibility and affordability to come ski or snowboard our mountains."
With no blackout dates the flexibility means families can use The Intrawest Passport™ to travel on holidays or whenever it's easiest for them. The Intrawest Passport's™ price is being offered on a sliding scale, with the primary adult Passport offered at $589, additional adults at $449, 13-20 year olds at $249, and children 12 and under are free.
"Skiing has been passed on from parent to child for several generations. We want to encourage the passion for the sport of skiing and snowboarding for the next generation by offering true value to families," Jensen explains.
The Intrawest Passport™ will allow you to ski/ride for six days during the 2014-2015 ski season at each of Steamboat Springs and Winter Park in Colorado; Blue Mountain in Ontario; Mont Tremblant in Quebec; Stratton Mountain in Vermont; and Snowshoe Mountain in West Virginia.
The biggest differentiators for The Intrawest Passport™ are children 12 and under ski free. The pass offers the flexibility to define your "family" the way it works best for a skiing family, i.e. - you can include extended family members, stepfamilies, non-traditional families and even good friends that are like family. After the first primary adult pass is purchased, families can purchase up to 15 additional Passports, including:
- Five additional discounted adult Passports for $449 each
- Five Teen Passports for $249 each
- Five children under 12 ski free passes
- Extended age for "Teen" Passport: allows teens and young adults through age 20 to receive the discount.
The Intrawest Passport™ only requires one adult pass to be purchased, which means a single parent and up to five children can all ski at six resorts, for a total of 36 days each for as low as $589.
The Intrawest Passport™ is available for purchase at Intrawest Passport™ or at the Resorts:
- Steamboat, CO
- Winter Park, CO
- Stratton Mountain Ski Resort, VT
- Snowshoe Mountain Resort, WV
- Blue Mountain Ski Area, Ontario
- Mont Tremblant Ski Resort, Quebec
Image Copyright Intrawest
Yoga has been gaining popularity in recent years, and for good reason: it's a fantastic way to boost your physical and mental wellness. Yoga also has particular benefits for skiers. By strengthening the leg, back and core muscles, while also increasing flexibility, a regular yoga practice can not only enhance your endurance on the slopes, but decrease your chance of injury.
Karen Dalury, founder of Killington Yoga, has taught skiing, coached ski racers, practiced yoga for 30 years, and has 10 years experience teaching various yoga disciplines. Here's what she has to say about how yoga can benefit skiers.
If you're ready to start practicing, you can begin with this collection of ten poses specifically targeted to help increase your skiing ability. Here's where to begin.
Image Copyright Mike Doyle
If you still want to keep skiing after the the lifts close at your favorite ski area, think about heading off to Europe for a couple of late April weeks.
Besides getting some very good lodging deals, here are ten reasons why you can find the Alps to be an excellent and affordable destination for a family ski vacation.
Many North Americans have an impression that skiing Europe is all about huge, steep, and dangerous descents. Nothing is further from the truth. Don't think Europeans were born with skis on everybody has to learn and there are some of the best ski schools in the world in the Alps. Virtually every resort has miles of beginner and intermediate terrain.
You'll be skiing the world's largest ski areas. There are destinations in France that include, under one lift ticket, more miles than you could ski in ten vacations. For example, The 3 Valleys comprises the resorts of Courchevel, La Tania, Maribel, Brides-Les-Bains, Les Menuires - Saint Martin de Belleville, Val Thorens and Orelle. These resorts are linked together by 180 ski lifts, with almost 400 miles of interconnected slopes and tens of thousands of acres of off-piste terrain.
Before you start planning your ski trip to the Alps, review these skiing Europe travel tips to make sure you have covered all the basics and are prepared for your ski vacation in advance.
Photo Copyright Mike Doyle
This week, let's take a look at the top ten finishers in each of the men's freestyle disciplines. Of course we'll start with the Slopestyle event where it was an all USA podium. One thing to keep in mind about the Olympic slopestyle is that there are rumblings that the Sochi slopestyle course, and indeed the slopestyle competition itself, is too dangerous to be an Olympic sport and should be banned.
So says Dr. Lars Engebretsen - a Norwegian orthopedic surgeon and researcher, who is presently the head of scientific activities for the International Olympic Committee. The New York Times quotes Engebretsen, speaking to the Associated Press about slopestyle, as saying "right now the injury rate as it was in Sochi was too high to be a sport that we have in the Olympics" and that the discipline "should change -- otherwise we shouldn't have it."
Although Dr. Engebretsen, carries a big stick here, the discipline is what it is and fans, athletes and national Olympic Committee should stay vigilant and be prepared to fight to keep slopestyle in the Olympics. I've read that there shouldn't be any immediate, overt attempt to ban slopestyle competition - but the powers that be will be watching how World Cup competition goes in the seasons leading up to the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
On a more positive note take a look at the top ten men in all the Sochi Olympics Freestyle events and with a link to the complete official results and remember all Olympians are heroes:
- Top 10 Men Sochi Slopestyle
- Top 10 Men's Sochi Moguls
- Top 10 Men's Sochi Aerials
- Top 10 Men's Sochi Halfpipe
- Top 10 Men's Sochi Ski Cross
All USA Sochi Slopestyle podium Copyright Quinn Rooney/Getty Images Sport