Go for the cardio. “If you’re not strong, it’ll be hard to ski,” says Olympic downhill gold medalist Tommy Moe, co-owner of Alaska’s Tordrillo Mountain Lodge. “But if you can’t breathe, it’ll be even harder.” Vacationers at Moe’s home resort of Jackson Hole, Wyoming—which, at 6,311 feet, has one of the lowest base elevations in the Rockies—get short of breath long before their legs give out. The average elevation of Colorado ski resorts? Just over 9,000 feet.
Moe recommends lung-busting workouts on the bike. “Spin classes are really good, because they focus on your legs and your butt,” Moe says. “The StairMaster is also great.” Get in as many workouts as you can before your trip, then take two days off.
And once you’re on the slopes, hit the lodge for a hot toddy as soon as your legs start feeling wobbly. “That’s the biggest thing for people when they’re tired,” says Moe. “They keep going, then they wind up getting hurt.”