Some days you simply don’t want to ski. Your knees ache, your hip pinches, your quads burn from pushing into the snow to turn. Or you could blame the weather: it’s too cold, cloudy, icy or slushy for your liking. Whatever the case, you need a break from the boards. But that doesn’t mean you have to abandon working out for the day, especially if you already know you’re indulging at dinner (how can you not when you’re on vacation?).
If it was cold, if it was still winter, if it was so snowy that you only wanted to step foot outdoors to run to the hot tub or go skiing, I’d be pushing a hotel room workout. You know, a sweat session that burns maximum calories, strengthens your core, and doesn’t require equipment beyond what you’d find in your room—like swinging your suitcase. But when the temperatures are pushing 60 degrees, the paths are pretty much clear of snow and ice, and the sun is shining until the evening hours (I swear it was still light at 7:30 p.m.), why would you want to stay indoors and use furniture and pillows during a workout. I wouldn’t. I’d rather be outside breathing in the fresh mountain air, torching calories and giving me an excuse to eat gelato after dinner.
Whether you’re hanging up your skis for the day after a morning on the snow or you’re too scared to test your skills in the spring conditions, try some of these alternates to keep your legs busy.
Mountain Biking Normally you’d have to wait for the snow to melt before taking to two wheels. But this season, plenty of trails are already open just waiting to be ridden. They might be paved—after all, do you really want to get stuck, or covered, in mud?—but you can’t always say you skied in the morning and biked in the afternoon. Same holds true for road biking and there was plenty of that happening along U.S. 6 into Keystone.Calories burned: 576 per hour
HikingMaybe you want to practice for the upcoming Ascent Series race at Breckenridge. Maybe you want to use your crampons and poles. Maybe you want to explore a spot off the snow. The possibilities for a hike are endless provided you can find your way back to start. Calories burned: 405 per hour
Snowshoeing Whether you’re at Beaver Creek’s Nordic Center or you’ve decided to explore elsewhere (like the ever popular hike from Lionshead up to Eagle’s Nest at Vail), snowshoeing gets you to play on the snow without your skis. And that uphill climb promises a lung busting, quad burning workout that even downhill skiing can’t match, unless you’re Lindsey Vonn. Calories burned: 420-1,000 per hour, depending on speed and terrain, according to a University of Vermont study
Running Running at altitude is far from easy, but what runner hasn’t heard about the benefits of altitude training? You may as well take advantage of it—even if you feel slow and sluggish, you’ll reap the rewards when you’re at lower elevations. Plus there are tons of trails and sidewalks to traverse like Vail's Gore Creek Trail. Calories burned: 575-1,225 per hour, depending on speed
Golf Carry your clubs and walk the course and you’ve given yourself an extra calorie boost in a sport that many believe requires more skill than athletics. With spring conditions arriving earlier than usual, golf courses are already opening, which means you can hit the snow in the morning and the greens in the afternoon. And it’s not often that you can brag about skiing and golfing in the same day unless you drove to Denver. Calories burned: 414 per hour
What non-skiing activities give you a workout?
*Calorie counts, except snowshoeing, calculated by healthstatus.com using a 150-pound person