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How to Physically Prepare Your Family For The Upcoming Winter Season

Granby Ranch Winter Nordic Trails

Fit to be Tried: Getting the family in shape for the Colorado ski and ride season


Marshmallows. M & M’s. Another hot chocolate. Not too long ago, I’d bribe my kids with anything just to keep them skiing for just a few more runs at the Vermont resort we frequented.


That’s hardly the case anymore. Now that we’ve moved to Colorado and my daughter is nearly 13 and my son is 11, those two monkeys tend to ski laps around me when we venture to Eldora, Copper Mountain and beyond. Or, at least, until their little legs get weary. So to keep the entire family on track, I reached out to longtime Aspen ski-conditioning coach Joe Nevin, the founder of the Bumps For Boomers clinics, for drills that family members of any age can undertake to get in shape.


“Your body is your most important piece of equipment, so it’s important to take care of it with fun and challenging exercises,” says Nevin, who adds that skiing is all about “balance in motion” and offers these moves to perform a few times a week before and during the ski and ride season.



  • At the gym, find a blue foam pad and see how long you can stand on one foot. Repeat on the other foot, aiming to increase your time each session.
  • At home, test your one-footed balance doing everyday activities: brushing teeth, doing the dishes, etc.
  • Play games: Practice catching a ball or doing arm circles on one leg. 
  • Make it a family competition to see who can last the longest in each activity.


Balance in Motion

  • Ice skate, in-line skate or just dribble a soccer ball in the backyard: the more you develop your awareness of where you are in a three dimensional space, the better skier or snowboarder you’ll be.
  • Create a hopscotch game in the driveway, jumping with both feet; this improves not only balance in motion, but also the explosiveness that skiing and riding require.


Core Strength

  • Hold a plank position, resting on your elbows and feet; start with 20 seconds and work up for as long as you can—an entire Warren Miller movie, maybe?
  • Rotate for side planks, keeping hips up on the left and right.


Leg Strength

  • Practice wall sits, with your back at different levels along the wall.
  • Do leg presses with a resistance tube.


Upper and Full-Body Strength

  • One word: push-ups.


Sarah Tuff Dunn

Sarah Tuff Dunn recently moved to Louisville, Colorado, with her husband, Carlton, and their two children, Dillon, 12, and Harper, 10. They’re looking forward to exploring the world-class skiing in Colorado, aided by the Colorado Ski Country 5th and 6th Grade Passport Program. Sarah has been writing professionally for nearly 25 years and her work has appeared in The New York Times, SKI, Skiing and Powder, among other publications. Read more of Sarah’s stories here and follow along with her Colorado skiing journey here