Outside Magazine, November 1994
Regimens: Positive Apres-Effects
By Dana Sullivan
You wouldn’t think of interrupting a mountain-bike ride or a trail run for a cocktail, but alpine skiing is different. It’s worthy exercise, sure–but it’s a party, too. If you’re interested in actually skiing, however, and for several days in a row, here’s an après program that won’t leave you hating yourself au matin.
Resist the temptation to pop out of your skis at 4 P.M. and head for the bar. “Instead, get some more exercise,” says Topper Hagerman, a Vail, Colorado-based sports physiologist. “Seriously.” Even athletes who are conscientious about stretching after a ride or a run are often guilty of giving their muscles a final downhill beating to the parking lot instead of a proper cooldown.
“Stretch and go for a 15-minute jog,” suggests Hagerman. “Light exercise keeps your blood flowing. If you just stop cold, so do your muscles.”
And don’t consider a hot tub part of your therapy. “Not to take all the fun out of this,” says Hagerman, “but a hot tub can be dehydrating, so don’t soak for more than five to ten minutes. For muscle relief, invest in a massage.” A rubdown will increase circulation and reduce soreness and fatigue. Hagerman suggests having the masseur focus on your
lower back muscles, hamstrings, and quads, the muscles that most feel the aftershock of a day of skiing.
“About 60 percent of your calorie intake for skiing should come from carbohydrates,” says Jim Landis, an Aspen, Colorado-based personal trainer and strength-conditioning specialist. “And the more of these you load at dinner, the better.” A long downhill day strips your muscles of the fuel they need to perform, so replace it with a dinner full of carbohydrates. “Lots of rice and a
small piece of chicken or fish is ideal,” Landis says.
Carry a couple of energy bars to snack on before lunch, but otherwise go light on the carbos during the day. Carbohydrates raise your body’s serotonin levels, so you might feel drowsy after a big plate of pasta and a couple of pieces of bread–hardly what you need with an afternoon of skiing to go.
You’ve finished your evening run, skimped on hot-tub time to get in a massage, and cleaned your dinner plate. OK–now you can kick back with a glass of burgundy. “Beer and wine will actually replace some of the carbohydrates you lost on the hill,” says Landis. Drink at least one glass of water for each cocktail, since alcohol is a diuretic. Because thinner air at altitude slows
your ability to process the alcohol, every drink at 5,000 feet hits you twice as hard. If you’re not careful, that could make it two times more difficult to get up the next morning.