2004 | In shape for the slopes

Five pieces of cool gear

K2 Phat Luv Skis


Last season when Ski Mart manager Keith Rollins demonstrated ski gear at Crystal Mountain, women regularly stopped him to ask how they could get a hold of K2’s Phat Luv. Phat Luv is an expert-level ski designed for women who have long had to settle for using shorter men’s skis. The skis are expected to be even more popular this year. They are wide for more stability and built to go fast and have a 14-millimeter side cut for better performance. The ski is the most popular in a K2’s Luv series, which also includes a ski for beginners: First Luv.

Marker Piston Control System


Pistons aren’t just for cars anymore. New Hampshire-based Marker has developed plates with a piston that go between the bindings and ski. The pistons controls the flex of the ski for a smoother ride. The system is used by ski racers because it nearly eliminates the vibration for better performance and quicker turns. New this year, an arm stretching out in front of the binding increases the effectiveness of the piston. The piston system comes with some new bindings and skis.

Giro Fuse Audio Helmet


Skiers are getting better about wearing protective helmets on the mountain, and new products like this might be part of the reason. The Giro Fuse has 16 vents that can be closed or left open, and it has a durable polycarbonate shell to protect your noggin. But what makes this helmet different is the ear pads. They are made with headphones so you can listen to your MP3 player while skiing. Rollins says you can even hook your cell phone up to the helmet. (You won’t need to go to the office until April.) Already have a helmet? You can add Giro’s TuneUps ear pads to your helmet for about $30.

Burton Mission Binding


When Rollins stocked the Burton C60 snowboard bindings last year, he was certain he was going to have a hard time selling the bindings for $360, more than twice what the typical binding goes for. He was wrong. This year some of the performance technology from those bindings can be found on less-expensive bindings such as the Burton Mission. The Mission has a toe strap to alleviate pressure on the top of your foot and a reinforced nylon baseplate to improve flex and stability. Holes have been carved into the high back of the freestyle binding to get rid of unnecessary weight.

Sessions Recon Jacket


If you like to ski in the backcountry, this is a jacket that just might save your life. Not only does it have vents and a removable hood for warm days and a fleece liner for cold days, but it also has an avalanche rescue system. A thin Recco Rescue System circuit card covered with plastic is sown into the back of the jacket. The card reflects signals from detectors used by rescuers to help expedite searches if you get buried by snow and debris. Recco suggests wearing two cards for the optimum results. Most Northwest ski areas are equipped with detectors.

Craig Hill,


he News Tribune

To have the most enjoyable time on the slopes this winter, you’ll need to be in shape. Jerry Crawford, the personal trainer director for Bally Total Fitness of Puyallup, says that means focusing on your lower body and abdominals to improve strength and balance. In addition to a regular cardiovascular activity such as jogging, Crawford recommends these five exercises, demonstrated by trainers Dustin Condor and Lori Dicus: With your feet shoulder-width apart, look straight ahead and stick your hands out in front of you for balance. Be careful for your knees not to move any farther forward than the tips of your toes. Squat as if you are sitting in a chair. Place a chair behind you if you need it to feel more comfortable. Do three sets of 15 to 20 squats. Like all of these exercises, do more if it’s too easy, or work your way up to sets of 15 if it’s too challenging. When it gets too easy, try one-legged squats. This exercise, Crawford said, is pretty hard to mess up and can be done on any step or ledge. Put your toes on the edge of the step and repeatedly lift yourself up to stand on your toes. Do three sets of 15 to 20, some with your toes pointed forward, some with your toes pointed in and some with your toes pointed out. When it gets too easy, try one-legged calf raises. Be sure to keep your shoulders above your hips at all times during this exercise. Take a step forward with your right leg, then drop your left knee toward the floor. Again, make sure your knee does not move in front of your toes. Repeat, this time stepping forward with your left leg. Do three sets of 15 to 20 lunges with each leg. When it gets too easy, try lunging to the side and backward and take shorter steps. Most people don’t exercise their hips regularly and they pay for it when ski season starts. Lying on your left hip, keep your right hip above the left. Be careful not to let them tilt forward or back. Lift your right leg in the air, drawing invisible circles with your right toe. Repeat on the other side, doing three sets of 15 to 20 circles on each side. When it gets too easy, try doing the circles with your lower leg. Core strength will help give you better balance and control on the steeps, and that means having strong abs. This Pilates exercise is a good way to build up ab strength. Stretch out as if you are going to do a push-up, but instead support your upper body with your elbows on the ground. Ask a spotter to make sure your backside is not sticking up. Your body should be as straight as a plank. Suck your stomach in and hold the position as long as you can. Repeat three times. When it gets too easy, try doing the plank on your side with one arm.