Winter is Coming…You Ready?

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The first official day of fall has come and went. Days are shorter and temperatures are cooler. Talk of a “Monster El Niño” has everyone stoked for winter. Thoughts of checking and tuning the gear begin to creep into our minds. Before each snow season there is one question we often forget to ask ourselves…are we physically ready? A lot of mountain enthusiasts attempt to keep in shape by hitting the trails, bike riding, paddle boarding or other adventurous outdoor activities, while others enjoy the off season in a different way. They like to lay around on the boat or the beach, attend as many BBQ’s and festivals as possible and drink!

Foam Fest 2014 - Photo Courtesy Local Freshies
Foam Fest 2014 – Photo Courtesy Local Freshies

Don’t get me wrong these are some of my favorite activities as well, but it’s counterproductive when it comes to flexibility, strength and stamina! Whichever route was chosen your body won’t be prepared for the punishment it will take during the ski/snowboard season without creating a specific routine to get you ready for those epic powder days we all love. JAMA Network, formerly known as the archives of internal medicine have proven sport specific exercise routine can reduce injury by 50%! That’s a BIG decrease just by getting a bit in shape.

Preparation is the best mode of injury prevention

Whether you want to take your game to that next level or you’re looking for preventing injuries, there are some specific areas that need work to successfully participate in snow sports without incident. I do stay in shape, but I tend to spend my off seasons combining a little bit of BBQing along with my physical activities. Also, several years ago I decided to go past the ski area boundary lines and head into backcountry. For those, who have read our 4 part series of “Going Back to School”, backcountry is incredibly dangerous and can lead to being in life threatening situations. This means you need a lot better fitness level than those only riding the chairlift. Although, I have conditioned my entire life, I still don’t consider myself an expert, especially in this field.

So, who can help me get trained up?

Gym1There are a TON of great trainers out there, but the Lake Tahoe region is fortunate enough to have one of the best in the country. Brad Paula started his fitness career by swimming competitively, which led him to college where he competed for Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo. From there he went on to coach. In the 80’s Brad got his first taste of skiing and instantly became a ski junkie. Soon after the first trip he wanted more. Like many dedicated skiers/snowboarders he began to search for that elusive powder day. He logged several outings to Tahoe, Shasta and Mt. Ashland. That was it; he decided that skiing always needed to be a part of his life. In 92’ he packed up everything he owned and moved to Tahoe to follow a new passion. Since then, Brad has skied some of the best places on Earth when it comes to snow sliding, most of which are on many skiers/ riders bucket list. The regions and towns he has visited read like a Warren Miller location spotlight. From the huge powder bowls of Sunshine and Lake Louise to the extreme craggy chutes of Chamonix and La Grave to the volcanic peaks of Mt. Dobson, Cardona and Coronet in New Zealand Brad has done it all. With him truly living and breathing the sport a natural progression lead to stretches working at ski resorts abroad in Porter Heights, New Zealand and Falls Creek, Australia. Presently, he is a certified Professional Ski Instructor/Trainer at NorthStar, California Ski Resort and assists with the coordination/facilitation of pre-season ski training camps, trains ski instructors for certification, and teaches all levels of ski enthusiasts. Plus, he is an ACE certified trainer that specializes in post rehab training and corrective exercises as well as special population and/or sport specific programs. With a resume like this he is the guy for anyone serious about preparing for the best season of their life.

Proof is in the Pudding

Gym3I committed to a regular routine at Well Being Gym over a year ago. As stated above I keep in pretty good shape all year long, but the improvements over the last year have been considerable. First, there was the Functional Movement Screen to identify asymmetries in the body that discourage peak performance or may encourage risk of injury. Then he tailored a customized routine based on the belief that functional power and strength come from efficient movement patterns, balance, and core stability. The program is so effective because it’s designed for you and the activity you are participating in. It also reduces the risk of injury which allows you to consistently attend and complete your training.

So, where is Well Being Gym located and how do I sign up?

If you are interested in getting in shape and live in the Tahoe Basin or around Carson Valley then you are in luck. Brad has a new Winter Sports Conditioning Program at Well Being Gym starting on October 5th and runs through December 12th.

The program will be 10 weeks long, offer 3 work-outs per week, and will address stability, strength, balance, coordination, agility, flexibility, core, muscle endurance, cardio and more….


  • M, W, F at 6 a.m.
  • Tu and Th at 5.30 p.m. and
  • Saturdays at 8 a.m.

That’s not all, you get a half-priced lift ticket that can be redeemed at Northstar, Kirkwood, or Heavenly. For more details, Brad Paula at (530) 368-1226.

What if you don’t live in Tahoe and want to get trained up?

Brad is available for remote fitness consulting. Contact Well Being Gym for further details, but for now he gave us a few guiding tips on how to get ready. Specifically in snow sports the knees, shoulders and back are the most injury prone areas. By proactively targeting these areas risks can be minimized. Here are the primary areas that you should focus on for the upcoming season:

  • Core stability (internal blocking)/balance
  • Legs/glutes explosive plyometrics (edge/pressure/rotary control)
  • Back/shoulders stability (internal/external blocking)

Hopefully, everyone is training up for the big winter…if not, we will wave to you on the sidelines as we go by!

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