While most serious skiers are going to the gym or practice with their indoor ski trainer, I focus on the low-energy, intellectual side of the sport in order to get in shape for the ski season. Essentially, two tasks help me reach optimum ski fitness: editing videos shot the season before and working on my equipment. These activities are enough to get my brain back into skiing mode and psych me up for winter.
Let me talk about video editing first. I’m no Spielberg and most of my movies are grainy, taken with a hand-held, small digital camera. The clips are short but they generally tell a lot. Actually, I don’t keep them to myself but share them with the rest of the family. This year, I even edited them “professionally,” taking full advantage of “Windows Movie Maker” a nice little software that was hiding inside my computer. After adding a soundtrack my children find “cheesy” and some extemporaneous voice-over, I showed the finished product to my family and comments started to fuse from all parts. “Is that you coming down Perseverance? Reminds me of a scarecrow…” or “There sure is a God, for letting you down Niagra chute in one piece!” These irritating remarks aside, I learn a lot when I watch myself, friend and love ones negotiating various ski runs and snow conditions. I discover how I could improve my ski life if I were just a tiny bit more sober with my gestures, or if I didn’t force myself into paths that were definitely not designed from me to fit into. I learn a lot about personal energy conservation and snow sustainability in the process. I generally tend to slow down the movie when I believe I catch a perfect personal moment on Stein’s Way and erase the nasty spill between two trees off some unnamed run, plus some other less-than-flattering moments. These are the perks of being in charge of the final cut.
The other side of my ski fitness regiment deals with ski preparation. That’s right, I’m still resisting the urge of taking my gear to a ski shop for a preseason tune-up and insist on doing it myself. It’s not that I’m a control-freak, I simply want to see the entire process through; from filling the nicks and scratches that pepper the bases to filing the edges and hot-waxing the final product. Interestingly enough, repairing ski bottoms is almost like a belated military debriefing in which all of my follies from the previous winter are suddenly revealed into full view. The granite outcropping that I could manifestly not avoid on that ridge just below Mayflower Bowl, that deep groove that I must have cut when a nasty snow snake threw me out against a sharp rock on one of the edges of some Daly Chutes, the edges I case-hardened last November when I ventured into Big Cottonwood Canyon or the bent prong of my left ski brake that must have been the result of a close brush I had with an oversized evergreen around Lady Morgan. Each mistake is leaving its distinct mark and this is how I will eventually learn to become a gentler, smoother skier.
Preparing my skis engenders much more physical pain than editing the video, but both leave profound, emotional stigma, and after I submit myself to both exercises, I can only hope that there will be less sneers when we screen next year’s movie and far less damage when it’s time to fix my ski bases. Now, all of this talk makes me legs antsy, I need to go out for a run!