Time magazine recently published an article titled "Why skiing is a ridiculously good workout." It describes the physical and mental benefits of this outdoor sport, some of which are shown in a connected YouTube video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y7VdB0NTxrI).
Among the benefits stated in Time's brief video are, "Alpine skiing has a combination of endurance and resistance training," and, "It has positive effects on your heart and circulation, as well as peripheral muscles, especially in your legs."
The article suggests that a day of skiing will have most of the concentrated benefits of a session at the gym, but with the unique mental advantage of being outdoors in fresh, unpolluted air and beautiful scenery. The only real drawbacks are the high expense and the always-present risk of injury. But a statistic gathered from ski patrol records from resorts across the country shows that fewer than 2,000 skiers are injured each year seriously enough to require additional medical care. At the same time, cycling is considered five times as dangerous as skiing.
As for the expense, many skiers don't know an important fact: If you purchase your lift ticket online, even the day before you plan to go skiing, you can get the ticket for up to 40 percent less than you will pay at the resort.
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If you plan to frequently go skiing, a season pass may be a better option than buying individual day passes. To see which is best for you or your family, multiply the cost you paid for each day pass last year by the number of times you went to the slopes, and compare that total to the cost of a season pass. If you went skiing at least 10 times and paid full retail price for each ticket, a season pass may be your best choice for next year.
If there is a beginner who you would like to introduce to the sport, please take this advice: have that beginner take a lesson. Don't try to teach skiing to a real novice. A ski instructor will be much more skilled at showing the body angles required and explaining how the boot and ski should be pressured. Plan to go skiing with your novice friend AFTER the lesson, when, at the very least, they will have learned how to stop. Stopping is perhaps the most important skill to learn when starting this sport. Nothing will take the shine off a day on the slopes as quickly as a novice finding themselves suddenly careening down the hill, totally out of control and unable to stop. An impact with another person or a tree will not be to anyone's best interests.
One of the great delights of being on the slopes is tree skiing. The secret of this additional pleasure is to learn to turn. Practice making all sizes of turns, from tight slalom to long downhill turns. When you're in the forested areas, you'll be weaving among tall pine trees, and learning to turn will make the difference between hesitant and slow movements or the freedom of being able to enjoy traveling through the trees with confidence and verve.
Teach yourself how to ski the trees by finding two or three trees that you can ski through easily. Practice on them until you feel secure, then add another tree to the mix. Keep skiing further and further into the forest, building your skills. At some point, you'll realize why skiers consider tree skiing such a rush, because you'll be feeling that same rush yourself. It's an experience you'll never get at the gym.
Wina Sturgeon is the editor of the online magazine Adventure Sports Weekly , which offers the latest training, diet and athletic information.