Your Ski Season Conditioning Guide – Beginner to Extreme

The snow is already falling in Aspen and while visitors are planning trips here, locals are prepping by getting in shape for long days on the slopes. Ensuring those ski legs are ready can make all the difference to truly take advantage of everything that Aspen has to offer.

Whether you’re a beginner who’s hoping to move up from the bunny hill on Buttermilk, or an expert who loves lapping Highland Bowl, we’ve got a training plan for you in your hometown, ranked by ski ratings – green, blue, black and double black.

Even total newbies know that ski runs marked with a green circle are the gentlest slopes in terms of terrain. As a beginner, you’ll want to be ready for the altitude, so cardiovascular fitness is a must. This can be as easy as logging some miles on a stationary bike or heading out on long walks around your neighborhood. If you live on the east coast, or somewhere that gets cold, spend time outside. This will prepare you for chilly days out on the slopes.

Being limber is also a must! As a skier, you’ll use muscles you may never knew existed. Try a gentle yoga or barre class to get them ready. Then once you’re on the slopes, find a ski pro who can show you the ropes.

Our Local Picks:

Pure Barre Aspen – This downtown studio offers three types of classes – Classic, Empower and Reform – try each one and when you hit 100, sign the barre and proudly sport the iconic non-stick socks embroidered with the century emblem!

Try the Walk and Stretch class at Aspen Shakti. The downtown Aspen yoga studio offers classes every day from beginner to advanced.

For intermediates, ski trail signs with a blue square at the top are the way to go. You’re ready to accelerate and add a steeper pitch, but maybe not quite game for moguls or tree groves. This means that your heart will be beating faster as you schuss down wide open slopes on Snowmass.

spin class

Prepare in advance with some preseason training. That means sweating it out at CycleBar, SoulCycle, a Hiit class or Orange Theory. Choosing a race to train for (like your local Turkey Trot) will also do wonders for your leg strength and stamina that can be applied to ski slopes. 

Our Local Pick: Check the HiiT Class at the Jewish Community Center. Starting early in the morning, this schedule caters to working locals and is a great place to connect with your inner athlete and fellow athletes.

If you’re an expert skier, you probably have a training plan already in place! Aspen locals tend to spend their free time running up steep trails like Smuggler Mountain. For city slickers, you can easily replicate that planning with regular trips to your local studios and time spent in the gym, especially when you can fit in “two-a-days” with two all-out efforts packed into 24 hours. Maybe even start following Mikaela Shiffrin or Lindsey Vonn on Instagram to see how the pros get prepared. And when it doubt, lunge it out until you can’t bend that knee any more.

Now even if your training plan goes off the rails a bit, you’ll have an incredible time out on the mountain. There’s nothing like fresh air and inspiring vistas (plus a cute ski instructor) to take your mind of those aching legs. An important step is also quality time in the hot tub which is open year-round here at The Little Nell.

skiing in Aspen

Our Local Pick: For the most challenging early season effort, there’s nothing quite like Boot Packing – which means trudging up and down Highland Bowl to earn your pass for the season. This gets a Double Black rating, for certain!