DPS Koala athlete Madison Rose Ostergren offers her take on ski season preparation.
Fall. It’s the beginning. It’s the prologue of ski season. It’s the time of year when the hard work and dedication to getting stronger, mentally and physically, pays off.
Fall. Every season has its perks, but for some reason fall has this way of evoking a particular kind of childlike excitement, something other seasons just can’t awaken within skiers.
Fall. Constantly teasing us with cooler temps, sporadic snowfall, discounted pass deals, new ski magazines, and movie releases. It leaves us itching to have skis on our feet, and craving the idea of storm chasing across the West in search of deep pow and unforgettable moments with friends.
Fall. It’s the transformative season where we metamorphose from sun-baked, dirt-covered scoundrels to wind-whipped, rosy-cheeked warriors.
Fall. It’s the crucial chunk of time when the hibernating lifts start to awaken. The grunting and moaning of the steel is a reminder that you better have your shit dialed before you step into your ski boots for the first time.
Fall. It’s when I am solely dedicated to preparing myself for the next six months of being absolutely haggard by Mother Nature, because I can never say no to skiing.
Fall. Better get ready.
Ski season is knocking on the door, it's time to forget that lean summer bod and start blasting that booty to get in shape for the best time of year: ski season!
Make sure to inspect your gear. File the rust off last year's skis (that you forgot to put summer storage wax on). Check that your boots are properly adjusted to your bindings and make sure your DIN is set properly. Inspect your poles – baskets and all – for any weaknesses.
Check all your avalanche safety gear to make sure it's working correctly. Don't forget to change the batteries in your beacon, test your airbag backpack, and assemble your probe and shovel. Make sure new equipment is dialed and fits correctly, so your first ski tour isn’t a failure to launch.
And most importantly, prepare mentally. This is often overlooked, but it's an extremely important process for me in order to have a strong and productive ski season.
Pre-season training has been a vital practice of mine over the last 14 years of skiing competitively as an alpine racer, and now as a big mountain skier. Extensive hours in the gym during the months of October and November have made my seasons rewarding in many ways. It never has and never will be ‘easy.’ Teddy said it himself: “Nothing worth having comes easy.” There is a lot that goes into having the best season of your life.
Music plays a huge role in my gym workouts. I have a few ‘pump up’ playlists I like to listen to with my Jaybird Vista headphones. This makes working out much easier for me because I am actually having fun and getting energized by each song. (I sometimes do a little dance in place between sets of lifting). I am able to really ‘tune in’ to my body and mind while listening to music, and ‘tune out’ other distractions.
Comfortability is key for me while working out. Whether I am at the gym, at home, or on the trail, Helly Hansen apparel makes it possible for me to perform at my best.
I usually split up my training with a mixture of different exercises and activities including cardio based workouts, strength building workouts, agility, mobility, stability exercises, resting/recovery, and mental training.
- 20 mins. cycle/run
- Walk out Planks
- ‘World’s Greatest Stretch’
- Single Leg Glute Bridge [10 each side X 2 rounds]
- Single Leg Squats [8 each side X 2 rounds]
- Core Engaging Exercises
Front Squat: [10-15 reps X 4 rounds]
- Deadlifts: [10-15 reps X 4 rounds]
- Single Arm Kettlebell Clean+Press: [10-15 reps X 4 rounds]
Body Weight Exercises
- Box Jumps: [8 jumps X 3 rounds]
- Single Leg Hamstring Curls: [10 reps each leg X 3 rounds]
- Pull Ups/Kips: [10 reps (or as many as you can) X 3 rounds]
- Toes-to-bar/Knees-to-chest: [10 reps X 3 rounds]
- Russian Twists (with weighted medicine ball): [50-60 reps X 3 rounds]
- Calf Raises: [30 each leg X 1 round]
- Wall Sits: [2-4 mins. X 3 rounds]
I start each season by cleaning and tuning my skis. Dirt and rust builds up from lots of days on snow, making time to hand tune the bases and edges using a file guide and diamond stones keeps that from happening. If time or tools are limited, it's amazing how the PHANTOM polishing pad (a low-abrasion scrub pad) can quickly eliminate micro-hairs on the base material. Then, if needed, I will wax and brush my PHANTOM-treated bases (see below for more on this crazy stuff!).
Before the season starts I get my new skis PHANTOMed. This can be done by a certified dealer with a PHANTOM Cure Station, or by ordering your own PHANTOM DIY kit. Last year was my first season using PHANTOM Permanent Waxless Glide. Throughout the winter and spring, I immediately noticed the difference in my ski’s gliding performance. While skiing in all different types of conditions my skis ran really well across all snow temperatures.
The gear I rely on:
- DPS Pagoda Tour 100 RP (for backcountry)
- DPS Alchemist Zelda 106 C2 (for resort)
- Mammut Barryvox Beacon
- Mammut Probe
- Mammut Shovel
- Osprey Soelden Pro 32 Avalanche Airbag Pack
- LEKI Ski Touring Poles (Tour Stick Vario Carbon or Helicon Light) - adjustable and lightweight + Leki Women’s XPlore Mitt
- POC Obex BC Spin Helmet, Orb Clarity Goggles, Sunglasses
- Helly Hansen Odin Collection (W Odin Mountain 3L Shell Jacket, W Odin Mountain 3L Bib Pant, W Odin Lifaloft Down Hybrid Jacket)
- PHANTOM Permanent Waxless Glide
- PHANTOM Polishing Pad
- Skida Headwear
- First Aid Kit
- Tool and Repair Kit (with duct tape and Voile straps)
- Homemade “Mads Muffin” (see below for recipe)
These are practices I incorporate into my daily routine. I feel very accomplished if I can do all of these things in one day, especially during long, busy days.
- Wim Hof breathing exercises
- Ice baths and cold showers
Simply adding a couple of these practices into my day improves my mental wellbeing and sanity.
Muffin Preparation (that's pretty much all I eat)
Most people who know me agree that I am a muffin making machine. I just really love muffins. They’re the perfect fuel for me whether I’m snacking on one while cruising up the skin track, pulling one out of my pocket on the chair lift, or sharing them with friends on an early morning hike. As an athlete, nutrition is very important to me, as I want to fuel my body with good ingredients that are healthful, tasty, and not full of processed sugar or chemicals you can barely pronounce on the wrapper. I like to food-prep a few batches of muffins at the beginning of the week so I can easily grab one on the fly and never worry about leaving the house without some sort of sustenance. Efficiency baby!
I make them all from scratch and very rarely follow a recipe or measure ingredients – probably because I have made thousands of muffins at this point in my life and now know by pure feeling what's going to work. BUT, I did create a recipe that is pretty simple, and it can be used as an outline/foundation that can be customized by simply adding or substituting ingredients.
- 2 mashed bananas
- 2 eggs
- 1 C almond/oat milk
- ¼ C coconut oil
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- ¼ C honey/maple syrup
- 2 C Kodiak Cakes mix
- 1 scoop protein powder of choice
- ½ C flax meal
- ½ C almond flour
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- Lil’ bitta salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, whatever spices tickle your fancy
- Toppings: walnuts, pecans, dried cranberries, fresh blueberries, shredded coconut, chocolate chips, chia seeds
Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and fill a non-stick muffin baking tin ¾ full and bake at 350º for about 15 mins., or until they are done.
Sure, you can blast those booty workouts, diligently inspect and prepare all of your equipment, and fuel your mind and body with the best possible ammunition for the approaching season, but hell – don’t forget why we do all this. It’s because we love skiing. So smile big and get out there and freaking send it!
- Madison Rose Ostergren @madisonnnrose