I feel the chill in the air this week, watching the leaves turn, and suddenly everyone starts to talk about skiing/snowboarding. We can’t help ourselves — powder is just too addictive. Here at our homestead, Holy Terror Farm, we can ski and bike out our door AND still manage to grow and raise almost 100% of our own food.
At first I was worried that I wouldn’t be “training” as hard here in Paonia as I was living in Crested Butte. Little did I know how hard farming was! We joke daily about starting a new fitness trend – “CROP-fit” – hauling water, food, animals (weights!), weeding (yoga), herding dogs/animals (cardio). Farming like Little House on the Prairie involves using every muscle in the body, in a fantabulously comprehensive way. Ever tried lifting a 400 pound pumpkin?
Worried that you don’t have a farm for your training? Stay with me and I’ll give you my favorite ski/snowboard trick below.
Right now, we are harvesting about 2000 pounds of winter squashes.
I pick about 100 pounds of tomatoes a day, seed and core them, solar-cook them down to paste and then can them.
For winter preservation of zillions of peppers, I ferment them, dry them, or roast them.
Last week, our Scottish Highland cows met their maker and are now in the freezer, along with their much coveted fat which we use everyday – for cooking, chicken/dog feed, candles and soaps.
I’ve learned firsthand how our ancestors kept fit — and it didn’t involve a gym or any fitness gimmicks. Fitness was an inherent part of survival and life. Incredibly, now when I ski, bike or surf, I find myself even more all-over fit than when I was “training” in a less farm-focused manner and with no injuries.
But asked what my favorite quick way to get in shape for ski season, I will always resort to running in the mountains — preferably bounding downhill with a loaded pack (Osprey of course!). That simulates those muscles that contract when you are riding your board/boards and the extra weight make those muscles respond more vigorously.
You will know that you have achieved your plyometric training when you find it difficult to sit down or go downstairs. Voila – your first days of skiing/boarding will be a piece of cake now.
ALISON GANNETT is a self-sufficient farmer, World Champion Extreme FreeSkier, pro mountain biker, award-winning global cooling consultant, and founder of the multiple non-profits. In addition to her busy careers as an athlete, athlete ambassador and keynote speaking, she runs her KEEN Rippin Chix Camps – women’s steep skiing, biking and surf camps around the globe, featuring Osprey Packs. She has starred in many movies, TV shows, and magazines receiving many awards for her work including National Geographic’s Woman Adventurer of the Year, Powder Magazine’s “48 Greatest Skiers of All Time” and Outside Magazine’s “Green All-Star of theYear” next to Leonardo DiCaprio and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Always an advocate of walking the talk, she has reduced her carbon footprint in half and has also spent half a lifetime working to make the world a better place. In 2010, she and her husband Jason bought Holy Terror Farm, beginning the next chapter of personal health and self-sustainability.
Last week I posted about my biggest goal in the mountains in the last four years coming to completion. It was a running traverse of the eight summits in the photo above and I claimed something in that post that came from my heart. I felt I had lifted myself from a plateau of failure and reached a new level of skill, one that balanced life with ambition, patience and a healthier attitude toward risk. On Thursday, I opened the door to that possibility again with a secret goal I have had coming up on September 15—my first 50-mile ultra marathon trail race.