Make Like a Skier and Turn the Great Outdoors Into Your Gym
“A snowy winter from Maryland to Maine.” That’s what the Farmer’s Almanac is saying, and as a skier I’m going with it. That means, of course, that it’s already time to think about getting into ski shape. In fact, the Ford Sayre Ski Club was on that mission all summer, with weekly dryland training sessions at Oak Hill. Skiers are notoriously adept at making a gym out of the great outdoors. The scene at Oak Hill every Wednesday this summer reflected just that.
Anywhere from 5-15 kids, ranging in age from 12-17, showed up at these entirely optional outdoor summer sessions that were inspired and led by Jane LeMasurier, Ford Sayre’s head U-14 coach, and her fellow U-14 coach Leah McLaughry. “We're just trying to keep it creative, maximize the two hour timeframe, use our surroundings to the best of our ability and teach the kids to do the same!” says LeMasurier, a former UVM skier and Middlebury coach. On the slopes she encourages her U-14’s to let the environment be their teacher. “The same can apply to a dryland program,” she says. “Obviously if we had access to a gym we would use it, but we don't, so we grab what equipment we have at home and make kids sweat their way up hills and through the fields!”
McLaughry echoes LeMasurier’s motives and enthusiasm. “Our goal is to introduce the idea of year-round, creative and fun training for these kids to not only maintain and build on their physical endurance and strength, but to realize there is so much available just in our surroundings that allow us to challenge ourselves and get a great workout in!” The two did pool together some basic equipment, but the toughest workouts—the ones that left even the coaches struggling to sit down the next day—required no equipment at all. “I never had a summer dryland program growing up,” explains McLaughry, a Ford Sayre alum who went on to race for Middlebury College. “I wish I had known how much I could do on my own at that age to help me stay in shape over the summer.”
A typical session at Oak Hill might start with a warm up run through the woods, a progression of agilities and several rounds of a circuit that includes, shuffles, burpees, pushups, lunges, Russian twists and several version of jumps. “Ideally a circuit should be 6-8 minutes of max effort, with a few low intensity stations sprinkled in for recovery,” says LeMasurier, who tries to give them ideas of things they can do at home with minimal equipment.
Ford Sayre athletes putting their backs into it on Oak Hill
Another favorite venue is the long wooden staircase that climbs the landing zone of the ski jump at Oak Hill. Here the kids make seemingly endless laps. Each time they get to the top LeMasurier comes up with a new twist —skipping two steps, then three, going up backwards and sideways, hopping and lunging side to side, in a tuck and upright—and leads the way. “You get out of it what you put in to it,” LeMasurier observes. “But isn’t that true about everything?”
Now that school sports have started, Ford Sayre dryland sessions will hibernate until the end of October. Skiers of all ages looking for outdoor training inspiration, however, won’t want to miss the annual dryland training clinic at Cochran’s Ski Area in Richmond, VT on Sunday September 17. Participants get a taste of homegrown training at its best in Cochran’s tricked out “Field of Excellence,” where they work out alongside former US Ski Team members, Olympians and NCAA Collegiate athletes. $25 gets you a day of training, a BBQ, a t-shirt and the contact high of training with some of the best skiers in the country. Register and get more info here.
Franconia Ridge: Open 24 hours and no membership required.
Now through October, when the days are warm and the bugs are gone, is prime time for hiking. Whether you’re going big, hiking New Hampshire’s 4000 footers, booking a night in an AMC hut, staying closer to home with a jaunt up Cube or Moose or Cardigan, or taking on the Hanover Trails Challenge, get out there!
And finally, if you are heading into fall sports season, and a lot of quality time in cleats here’s a little reminder from the good people at BE Fit. ”We see a lot of injuries every August in kids who are not fully conditioned for going into double sessions, or just a higher level of activity than they are ready for.” Got new or nagging aches and pains? Call BE Fit for an evaluation before it turns into a bigger problem. BE Fit now offers FREE 20-minute injury screenings for the Hartford fall athletes during pre-season.