Are You in Shape to Ride?

IMG_0096Forehead sweating, goggles fogging, gasping for air, barely lifting one foot in front of the other through the snow around your sled, finally removing your helmet to come back to life. Aching shoulders, jello arms, fatigued thighs, sore core, waking up the next morning wondering how that machine that you love so much could’ve caused you this pain! Does this sound familiar. I think we’ve all been there. Whether it is digging out your sled (or a buddy’s), hiking up to retrieve your sled from a dismount, or simply pounding a beautiful day of pow, this snowmobiling thing is tiring. Despite popular belief, mostly among jack-wagons riding trail sleds, sledding is one giant smile-inducing workout.

Last fall I was finally ahead of the game…and it made all the difference. Let me share with you my regimen, why it is my regimen, and how I designed it. I am no world-class strength coach, but I do have a fair amount of experience in the area of strength coaching. We’ll start with a functional analysis of the maneuvers we all do when back country mountain sledding and the muscles required to perform them. I will then show you exercises to ensure those muscles are developed along with sets, reps, and duration.

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Pre-Season Odds and Ends

British Columbia. How? Why?

This is what’s on my mind. Certainly I’m not the only one. If you are on Facebook and happen to live in the lower 48, you are thinking this too. The questions aren’t rational, I know. We know that Canada gets much more snow and much earlier in the year, but I can’t help being distraught that “they” (the Canadians) have been riding multiple times and we barely have a skiff of snow on most peaks.

So what do we do…get our sleds out, look at them for a long time, and obsess over every pre-season prep detail! I bet you are in the same boat. So…

  1. I stumbled into a new technique that I thought was pretty cool. You may know about img_0845this, but I sure didn’t. So here is the problem. On my sled, there is a non-black plastic piece directly behind the exhaust cutout. Over time, this area has accumulated a bunch of exhaust residue and other crap. I’ve tried to clean it off in a similar manner to the rest of my sled in the past with no luck. I decided to try…Tire Black from Armorall. The first time I put it on, for a minute or so, I saw just enough progress to try again. The second time, I let the chemicals soak for 15 minutes. And then…I brought out the secret weapon…a potato scrubber I picked up a img_0846few years ago out of my wife’s kitchen using the old five-finger-discount. This “tool” is handy for many mechanical cleaning duties. Light scrubbing with this dandy was just the ticket. The picture above is actually after cleaning for awhile. You’ll have to trust me, it looks much better, and I am oddly satisfied (hence this post).

 

2. Pre-Season Checklist

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Strategies and Tips: Mtn Snow Conditions and Forecasts

Finding the snow! That’s all any of us really care about, right?? An integral part of being snow chasers is accessing information about current snow conditions and weather forecasts. Your run-of-the-mill local forecast and ski resort snow reports are nice, but they just won’t cut it for what we do. Here is what we have learned over the years. Please share your resources and methods in a comment below. 

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