Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Ski Midwest! Tips for First-Time, Once-a-Year Skiers Who Want to Stay Close to Home

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Ski Midwest! Tips for First-Time, Once-a-Year Skiers Who Want to Stay Close to Home

Article excerpt

Pop Quiz: Name the last Midwesterner to win an Olympic medal in an Alpine skiing event.

Answer: None. It was a trick question. Well, actually, anyone with a hint of topographical knowledge could tell you that since the Midwest has nothing remotely resembling a mountain, it would be tough to produce an Olympic champion.

Which isn't to say that Midwesternern don't love to ski. It's just that we don't do it so often as our Rocky Mountain friends. So we're more prone to hit the slopes ill-prepared. To help avoid that, here's list of recommendations for first-time and once-a-year skiers. FOR BEGINNERS 1. Shape Up. "A person with aerobic training has an edge," says Merle Millar, assistant director of the ski school at Hidden Valley. Even at Hidden Valley, where the altitude tops out only in triple digits, an aerobically fit person will recover faster between runs than someone who isn't. If you don't feel up to it, experts recommend 6 to 8 weeks of walking, bicycling (stationary, in this weather) or other cardiovascular exercise before attempting a weekend ski trip. Some ski instructors also recommend stretching and sit-ups. 2. Dress Properly. This is the stuff you'll have to bring with you. The key words are "warm," "dry" and "layers." Millar recommends starting with a layer of polar fleece, "better than a sweater as an underlayer because it's not as bulky or confining." The outer layer should be water-resistant. Warm gloves also are essential, and Millar recommends packing an extra pair. "In case one gets wet, you'll have another to put on." The final essential is eyewear. "Goggles are good; sunglasses are appropriate," Millar says. "It's really bright on the snow, which is more reflective than the water." Ski shops and sporting goods stores have specialty clothing at a variety of prices, and you might want to check consignment shops for used ski gear. …

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