Originally published in October, 2001 issue of SKI Magazine
Hundreds of books, videotapes and magazine articles have been written and filmed about how to get your flabby body in perfect shape so it can be covered up with baggy ski clothes. A lot of those people with perfect bodies have made millions of dollars with their exercise tapes, books and health food, though I'm not sure anyone is actually thinner as a result.
I have skied for most of my life, and I recall doing a push up once a few years ago, but I got carpet lint on my T-shirt, so I gave it up. I even bought some vitamins once, and their curative powers are still stored in a bottle somewhere in the garage with some other souvenirs of my occasional health binges.
Here are a few of my favorite ways to get in shape to ski and, just as important, to get in shape to get to where the skiing is.
Preparing For Takeoff
To get ready for your next international ski vacation flight, find a cardboard box for a 24-inch television set and put it in the middle of the living room. Climb into the box each night after a hard day at the office. Have a couple of things to drink and read alongside the box. Make sure that the coffee is cold and the cold drinks are warm.
After your legs go to sleep curled up in the box, have your spousal equivalent serve you a five-day-old, barely warm TV dinner. Make sure you use plastic knives and forks from last summer's picnic. After you spill the cold coffee all over your shirt, and with the empty dishes still in your lap, try to stay awake during three and a half hours of network TV rejects. (No remote channel changers allowed.) Make sure you watch it without sound because earphones cost $4 extra.
When your body is asleep almost up to your armpits, the bathroom is occupied and you can handle five and a half hours in the cardboard box, you are now ready to buy that 11-months-in-advance-discount ticket to Mt. Trashmore.
(As if this isn't irritating enough, we now learn that long flights can cause serious circulatory problems. The solution: Inform the airline that you have a minor prostate problem, request an aisle seat and take frequent trips to the bathroom.)
Getting Down For Après-Ski Disco
In your bathroom at home, do 3,000 deep knee bends in one hour in a quilted parka. Do this with the heat turned up. When you are able to do 3,000 without sweating, you are ready for disco dancing. Do it to the beat of fast music, and eventually you will find that the only thing all of this gyrating, jumping and grooving does is shake the wrinkles out of your long underwear.
Getting In Shape For The 500-Mile Family Drive To Mt. Stupid
Buy two Sony Walkmans and put an ear piece from each one in either ear. Turn up the volume on two different rap CDs while also listening to your wife give directions to a Sunday afternoon party at your mother-in-law's house as your kids argue in the back seat.
Ready, Set, Helmet
Buy a five-pound bag of sugar or flour and put it into an empty 10-pound bag. Each morning when you go jogging, wear the bag on the top of your head. When you feel safe crossing the street without looking, you are in shape to ski with a helmet.
Fill up your four largest suitcases with plastic bottles of expensive designer water. Put one suitcase under each arm and one in each hand with your skis in a bag over one shoulder and your boot bag over the other shoulder. Then jog back and forth as many times as possible to the point of exhaustion, rest for 45 seconds and then repeat.
To prepare for waiting in liftlines, get a weekend job at Costco rearranging the frozen turkeys in the freezers. Do it without wearing gloves, and douse your face with cold water every time you enter the freezer.
The Condo Sofa-Bed Crunch
Roll up two large beach towels and put them in between your mattress and box springs right where your waist will be when you try to fall sleep. Fill your pillow with seven pounds of sand and then place a two-foot wide box at the end of your bed so you can't stretch out.
During half-time at a football game, fill up a tray with six plastic glasses of soda, three bowls of clam chowder, four hamburgers, six orders of fries and two orders of nachos. Then try to get back to your seat without spilling anything on anyone you are climbing over. Don't forget to wear your ski boots.
When the weatherman says "Rain tomorrow," set your alarm for 4:30 a.m. and get dressed in all of your ski clothes. Eat a quick breakfast of cold eggs and greasy bacon that you cooked the night before and then go outside and stand in the rain in the dark and convince yourself that it is snowing up at the top of your imaginary chairlift and that you are the first person in the liftline.
Heli-Ski Financial Planning
Pay off all of your credit cards and then burn them. For the next two to three years eat nothing for breakfast but oatmeal, nothing for lunch except peanut butter sandwiches and nothing at night except Kraft dinners. Drink nothing but water the entire time. During that same time get in good enough shape so that you can do 31,420 deep knee bends every day, for six days in a row, while sleeping only five hours a night.
Parking Lot Payola
Buy a pair of crutches and three ace bandages. Wrap up your wife's or husband's leg before you leave the motel, your home or the nearby condo. Make sure that the crutches can be seen propped up in the front seat of the car. When you enter the parking lot give the $7-an-hour attendant a $10 bill so your companion with the crutches won't have to walk so far on the ice and snow.
Once you've finished this exclusive, trademarked Warren Miller workout, relax. You don't have to do it for another year.