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Telluride, Colorado: The Vacation Spot Perfect for Snow Bunnies

Written on March 13, 2014 at 1:42 pm , by

I felt like I was home the second I touched down in Colorado’s tiny Montrose Airport two weeks ago. The sun tickled my pasty skin as I  bounded off of my puddle jumper plane with a list of to-dos a mile long—pee, claim baggage, find my shuttle, etc.—yet all of those thoughts and former stresses seemed to disappear in thin air (literally, hello altitude) when I laid eyes on the snowcapped mountain skyline. Holy snowplow. I could get used to this.

As a self-proclaimed “summer girl” who finds winter’s only redeeming quality to be powder-packed slopes, it has been a dream of mine for far too long to experience trails (both “groomies” and glades) out West. So when I was invited on a trip to Telluride, I felt like a kid in Toys-R-Us the week before Christmas—wide-eyed, jaw ajar the entire five days I spent gallivanting about. But is the skiing really that much better than the Northeast? Like, worth the extra travel and lugging of clunky equipment? Abso-freaking-lutely. The conditions rocked the socks off my go-to stomping grounds (while lacking that bone-gnawing bitter cold us Northerners are all accustomed to), and the town itself had the local charm a city dweller craves…without sacrificing cell service. From backcountry hikes and wildlife tours to snowmobiling and gaga-worthy dining views, the destination is a fit gal’s heaven. And the food? I can’t even begin to explain the flavor explosion my taste buds experienced. It had the high-end Manhattan quality, touting a local farm-to-table flair. Insert your choice of an expletive adjective to describe the melt-in-your mouth pork belly.

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The Hybrid Workout We Can’t Stop Talking About: Snowga

Written on January 23, 2014 at 1:19 pm , by

Photo courtesy of Anne Anderson.

Written by Alena Hall, editorial intern

Growing up in the south, I can safely say that I’ve hopped onto a pair of skis a mere three times in my life. I can also say that those three times started with a fair amount of trembling, anxiety and general fear that I would lose control and go flying off the mountainside. But if I had met Anne Anderson back then, I’m sure my skiing experiences would have turned out a little differently.

A yoga and snow sports enthusiast, Anderson began teaching yoga classes and ski lessons in 2000, and by 2008, she discovered the organic connection between the two practices. “It was magical; it worked beautifully,” she says. “The breath is the greatest tool we have to calm the mind and body.” Since coining the term “snowga” and successfully launching the hybrid class at Connecticut’s Mohawk Mountain in 2012, Anderson has watched the mindful practice help transform the way newcomers and veterans alike experience snow sports.

Each class is structured similarly to Kripalu yoga. “The mountain becomes the yoga studio; the slope becomes the yoga mat,” says Anderson. Beginning in a circle at the base of the mountain (no skis strapped on at this point), she begins class with a relaxation breath and centering mediation lesson to calm the minds of her students. After setting a positive intention for the day, the group warms up and moves through asanas to relieve tension and stretch the body (in other words, make sure you bring gloves). The actual ski lesson follows, incorporating a few yoga postures while clipped in, like Mountain, Eagle and Chair pose, which creates an experience similar to Vinyasa flow. “Everyone loves to ski with this natural rhythm,” says Anderson. “It’s like dancing on the snow and lots of fun!” The class ends off the skis with her teaching the importance of deep-relaxation pose Savasana, or the always-popular corpse pose. It may not be conventional, but we wouldn’t be opposed to tossing in a few snow angels at the end. After all, you are already in position.

The one question on our minds: why hasn’t someone thought of this before? “Students told me that practicing snowga helped them break through to a new level of skiing, and they experienced a new sense of serenity and connection… they could relax and enjoy skiing,” she says. So basically, we’re sold.

Although classes aren’t offered across the nation yet, there’s no reason you can’t give it a go on your own. “Take time to warm-up and get centered before heading off to the chair lift. Notice the surroundings; get in touch with your breath, your body and all of the senses,” she says. “While on the mountain, think flow instead of force. Keep calm through conscious breathing,” and if you need to take a few minutes for yourself, go for it.

More from FITNESS:

Yoga Your Own Way

Postcard from the Edge: How Skiing Taught Me to Take More Risks

Winter Workout: Strengthening Moves for Skiing, Snowboarding, and Ice Skating

One Fierce Female: Explorer Felicity Aston Skis Across Antarctica Solo!

Written on February 8, 2012 at 2:26 pm , by

Written by Kate Branciforte, editorial intern

Aston celebrates reaching the South Pole by planting her country's flag. (Photo courtesy of Kaspersky Lab)

Could you ever imagine skiing across Antarctica? How about skiing across Antarctica alone?

Felicity Aston, a 33-year old explorer from Great Britain, did just that last month, and now holds the title as the first women in history to cross the continent. She is also now the world record holder for the longest solo journey ever made by a woman! Talk about girl-power.

Aston began skiing during her first trip to Antarctica when she was 23, and has enjoyed the sport ever since. For the past 10 years, Aston has taken expeditions all over the world and in 2006 she started to lead these expeditions. After training a group of women for their first trip to the South Pole, she decided to make the trek by herself.

Why did you want to do this alone?

I did it alone because I think I was curious to see if I could. When I hear about an expedition, my question is always, “Would I behave in that way?” and I was curious to find out if I could.

How did you train?

It was all about endurance and stamina. I did a lot of high-intensity walks while pulling tires with a harness along the beach. The sand is very similar to snow. The training isn’t something I enjoy, but it was a means to an end. I need to do this or else I would not be able to do that.

What did you take with you?

It had to be very lightweight, because I was pulling absolutely everything. I started out with two sleds that weighed almost 190 pounds—that’s like a full-grown man! I didn’t have as much clothing as you would think.

To hear about Aston’s 5,000-calorie diet and how she dealt with fear, click below.

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Tear Up the Slopes During Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month!

Written on January 5, 2012 at 10:11 am , by

So what if you're a beginner? Lessons will have you on your feet in no time. (Photo by Alexa Miller)

For winter sport newbies, the slopes can sure be intimidating. Staring down a steep hill and plunging off the top…I can just feel my heart beating faster thinking about it! Thankfully, there are many resources available to make novices more comfortable, and many of them have teamed up in January for Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month.

Last year during the festivities, instructors offered more than 75,000 beginner lessons and passed along priceless scoop about how to fuel winter activities, what to wear when on the hills and lifts for hours and how to stay safe. You can also find retailers and resorts near you to gear up and plan your next adventure—Vail, anyone?

For all of the details, visit skiandsnowboardmonth.org and stay tuned because next Friday our fashion team will be pulling together their favorite looks for your snow adventures this season here on The Fit Stop!

And for tips straight from the pros, look no further:

Now tell us: Are you a snow bunny? What is your favorite snow sport?

Olympic Skier Lindsey Vonn’s 6 Fitness Essentials

Written on October 28, 2011 at 12:03 pm , by

World class skiier Lindsey Vonn is riding high after her giant slalom win in Austria last weekend, where she completed her career-long quest to win all five Alpine ski events (slalom, giant slalom, super-G, downhill and super combined). She is only the second American, after Bode Miller, to accomplish such a feat! Fresh off her victory, Vonn set aside time to fill us in on what’s new in her world since she graced the cover of FITNESS in February, and share six fitness tools and tips she can’t live without.

Lindsey loves squats in all forms, like this one-legged squat she's demonstrating here. (Photo by Jonathan Skow)

  1. Motivation trick: “I’m generally very motivated, but I do have days when I struggle to get out of bed,” Vonn admits. One thought that’s sure to get her moving? “I consider what my competitors are doing!” You can use a similar tactic by signing up for a local road race or team sport and using your fellow runners or opposing team members to give you an incentive to get up and go.
  2. Top equipment investment: “The TRX Suspension system is great because you can use it for core, lower body, upper body and balance,” Vonn says. “Plus it’s perfect for travel.”
  3. Must-do move: Vonn swears by squats, not only because they strengthen her legs for skiing, but also because they offer a do-anywhere workout that only requires your body weight. “I do two minutes straight of squats, rest for a few minutes and repeat that once or twice more. It really gets my legs burning,” Vonn explains.
  4. Trusty top: “I live in Under Armour ColdGear in the winter, especially the Fitted Mock turtleneck,” Vonn says.
  5. Long-term goal: When we asked her if we could look forward to seeing her at the next winter Olympic games in 2014, Vonn simply said, “definitely.”
  6. Pep-up playlist: These songs are currently on repeat on Vonn’s iPod during training:

More from FITNESS: Follow along as TV anchor Jenna Wolfe gets ice skating lessons from an Olympic pro!