‘We prefer winter over summer’
An early season storm produced enough snow for him to ride the slopes around Vail at the end of September. He and his friends spent two days driving up and down Vail Pass. The third day, he and nearly a dozen skiers and snowboarders hiked up Vail Mountain to carve some fresh turns.”We just did it because we prefer winter over summer,” Staats said. “It will just get me in the mindset more than anything else.”The snow drives the snowboard species to obsessive preseason behavior. They slog through feet of snow the consistency of mashed potatoes for early turns. They watch video tapes of old-school neon-clothed snowboarders for the umpteenth time and dog-ear the pages of the latest catalogues. They sweat during preseason workouts.Whatever their approach, they all hunger for the buzzing alarm of the chairlifts starting up for the season.While the two-and-a-half hour hike up Vail Mountain proved somewhat grueling, Staats swears off routine preseason workouts and advocates an armchair approach.”We’ve been watching snowboard videos – that’s how I get ready for the season,” he said. “It just gets you pumped up. It gets you inspired.”Sara McClure accompanied Staats and the others on the preseason jaunt up Vail. She took photos from the top, reveling in the green trees of summer and the deep fall snow lying before her.”I just wanted to kind of get out and enjoy it because I’ve never seen the mountain look the way it did that day,” McClure said.But the difficult hike and subsequent burn in her rear leg while snowboarding the deep powder motivated her to get in shape. McClure started hiking more, doing squats and strengthening her torso.Adam Gilmer contemplates sharpening and waxing his boards and buying new boots. He already bought a hat with headphones built in for his MP3 player.Gilmer’s first year last season caught him physically unprepared for the slopes, so he is fine-tuning his body at the Vail Cascade Resort and Spa. But Gilmer avoids the gym’s ski conditioning classes.”I don’t need that much organization in my life,” he said.If organization is your thing, Avon resident Danny Martin holds classes thrice weekly at the Board Room in Avon to prepare snowboarders for the season.Martin – a Zen-like 44-year-old snowboard guru – teaches from his book, “No Fall Snowboarding,” available at The Board Room, the Bookworm and Verbatim. Martin’s exercises and snowboard techniques are meant to keep beginners and even experienced snowboarders from falling.He understands poor physical shape can be the bane of eager snowboarders.”This will put you in shape enough to snowboard your first day,” Martin said.Beyond exercises, Martin teaches an unconventional snowboard technique that uses the shoulders to remain balanced while turning.Martin taught Board Room owner Matt Bryan nine years ago to snowboard – in the living room of their house. They took the lesson out to Vail Mountain and Bryan was tearing it up the same day, Bryan said.”This is the most efficient and simple way to learn how to snowboard and become proficient in a very short period of time,” he said.
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