By Katie Demeria
BASYE -- After several inches of snow fell on Bryce ski resort last week, skiers were out in full force to take advantage of a warm, 50 degree Friday.
Ski instructor Kathy HurdCarillo said that while the weather was nice, conditions were not necessarily ideal for skiing.
"It's a little slow," HurdCarillo said. "Some rain or ice would make it nice again, great for racing."
HurdCarillo is intimately familiar with the advantages snow can add to an exercise routine -- but that understanding is not universal, and many think snow limits their activity level.
But HurdCarillo and other local trainers know cold weather should not prevent anyone from remaining active.
For Rick Holmes, personal trainer at Gold's Gym in Front Royal, winter is the perfect time to build muscles in order to not only prepare for summer sports, but to make everyday activities easier.
"You don't have to kill yourself with every workout, but you want to keep your muscles strong, to be able to do your daily activities without any strain," Holmes said.
The winter weather actually enhances HurdCarillo's regular exercise routine even beyond her work as a ski instructor, she said.
"I love the winter because I like shoveling snow," she said. "I get the best workout ever. I make sure to alternate sides, and within the next two days, my core is so sore, and it's usually hard for me to get my core tired. It's like doing 600 sit ups."
The same is true for Joe Haydu, owner of Woodstock Total Fitness. During snowy days he gets an extra workout from shoveling snow and going outside to play with his kids.
There are simple ways to become used to getting active in the winter, HurdCarillo said, even for those who are not comfortable with traditional snow activities like skiing.
"Snow tubing is great for people who are not feeling like skiing, or snowboarding is something they can really manage, because it's a light activity," she said. "And just being outside in the cold is a great way to get people acclimated."
Some, she continued, do not let the cold prevent them from hiking. Many hike around the Bryce mountains using ski poles to keep their balance against the snow.
The most important thing to keep in mind when remaining active in the winter is the preparation involved, HurdCarillo said.
"Their options are not limited, they're only limited by what they're wearing," she said.
She would urge anyone trying to be active in the winter to invest in a pair of comfortable snow boots with good tread.
"A lot of people don't have the right kind of shoes, so they're not safe out there," she said. "Good shoes are just a necessity if you don't want to be stuck indoors."
She also encouraged those going outdoors to learn how to dress for the cold weather.
"When I see people in jeans outside on a cold day, I know they must be freezing," she said. "Some people don't realize that you can wear really good layers to stay comfortable and active outdoors."
Going outside may be too much for some people, Haydu said. Simple exercises performed inside, like chair squats or push ups, are great ways to make even getting in and out of the car easier, Holmes pointed out.
He suggested using the Internet as a resource and looking up simple routines anyone can do at home.
HurdCarillo said many people just do not realize how beneficial the snow and cold weather can be to creating an invigorating workout.
"A big reason I think people don't go outside in the winter is because they're not conditioned to the cold weather," she said. "You have to start small, don't start with some huge activity that is going to make you think winter is miserable."
Contact staff writer Katie Demeria at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or firstname.lastname@example.org