The 2016 winter season is finally here! For the past few weeks, South Island locals have been buzzing with pent-up energy, watching eagerly as pre-season storms blanketed the mountains with thick layers of snow. Two weeks ago, Cardrona reported a 40cm compacted snow base over most of the mountain, with wind drifts measuring more than two metres deep. Mt Hutt claims they’ve had their best pre-season since 2011, with a one-metre snow base. With the snow guns blazing, things are ready to kick off! You’ll want to be ready. Here are five tips on how to prepare for an epic season:
1) Watch a Warren Miller film
First up, get inspired. Warren Miller once said: “A pair of skis are the ultimate transportation to freedom.” His skiing and snowboarding films, known for their humour and extraordinary visuals, are a guaranteed way to get the blood boiling for winter. (They’re also a fun trip down ski fashion memory lane!)
2) Get your gear organised
Good gear in great working condition makes or breaks a ski holiday, so sort yours out before you need it. Try on all of your current kit: is it in good shape? Does it still fit comfortably? Is there anything you need to repair or replace? Is there anything that you really wanted, every day you were on the hill last year? Now’s the time to buy it!
First, make sure you have everything you need and that it’s in good condition. Next, organise your gear so everything is at the ready for hitting the slopes.
3) Book your trip
This sounds like a no-brainer, but too many people leave planning for later. If you don’t have a trip on the books, chances are something will get in the way during the season (which always feels all-too-brief). If you do manage to claw out some time, scrambling for flights, passes and accommodation is both stressful and costly.
Our website has helpful information for planning your ski holiday, including season dates, nearby airports and local ski-field information.
Do your research: New Zealand’s South Island has a wide variety of resorts and local club fields, most of which are within easy travelling distance of each other so you can try out a few different slopes during your visit.
And don’t forget there are a thousand other adventures to be had during your South Island visit, from jet-boating to mountain biking. Check out the local Queenstown, Wanaka, and Christchurch tourism sites for more information.
4) Stretch and get moving
Yeah, it’s probably too late to get into condition for ski season, but here are two pieces of good news: first, skiing is really the only thing that will get your ski legs back. You’ll be sore, your quads will burn, things will hurt, but you’ll have more fun getting back into shape on the slopes than you will in the gym!
Second, stretching will help. Spend 30 minutes a day stretching and waking up your muscles. Walk. Take some beginner’s yoga classes. Get your body used to moving again.
If your snow holiday is planned for the end of the season, and you have the luxury of six weeks until you hit the slopes, there are a few exercises that can help you prepare. Check out Men’s Fitness top five gym exercises for skiers / boarders.
5) Start off the season with refresher lesson (or two)
We all know the plateau. If you can’t ski / ride a few times a week, your skills stagnate, which is fine – most of us aren’t gunning for the X Games. But booking an early-season lesson is a great way to get comfortable fast, and to pick up a new trick or two to practice during your holiday. Do that every year, and your skills will continue to improve. Most South Island resorts offer a range of lessons with snow-loving instructors to help you get going.