Winter Park / Business: Helping tourists prepare for high-altitude exercise
February 4, 2008
Skiing and snowboarding above 10,000 feet isn’t easy for vacationers. Throw in a full-time job and kids, and chances are a week away in the mountains can be a physical and mental drain.
Steve Higgins, a former Winter Park resident for almost 10 years, knows all too well what it’s like to teach skiing to someone who is out of shape. He started out as a ski instructor for Ski Idlewild, when it was still a small ski hill, and went on to coach race programs at Winter Park Resort.
Today, Higgins lives in the Seattle area, but he is launching a sports science program aimed at helping ski areas in Colorado. It’s called ZoneOne Sports Science, and it is geared towards getting people in shape before they hit the slopes.
ZoneOne is an online, educational and custom fitness program specific to on-snow sports. Higgins is working with Winter Park Resort, Vail, Beaver Creek, and all four mountains at Aspen, he said, where he plans to partner the program with the ski resorts’ PSIA-AASI ski and snowboard ski pros.
ZoneOne is an online fitness regime designed to get people fit for skiing and snowboarding through at-home or at-the-gym exercises or training, such as running, cycling or strength training. It also offers nutritional information from nutritionists, educational tools and, if desired, a personal fitness coach. To join, one needs to visit the ZoneOne Web site, fill out a personal form and questionnaire, and pay the desired program’s fee. (The basic, 8-week program costs $200).
“This is geared toward the person who’s coming up for the day, the weekend, or a week of skiing or snowboarding. What I’m attempting is to actually have these people enjoy their ski vacation instead of potentially losing people to another industry,” Higgins said during a phone interview.
The program also offers a video library with video clips of skiing and boarding turn shapes, park and pipe air executions, exercises and movement patterns. Those who choose the 16-week program also get a personal coach who contacts the client every week and makes sure they’re sticking to their weekly training schedule. There’s even a software program that the client and coach will both have, that measures heart rate data, and power data (on a bike, it measures how much power goes into a pedal stroke).
In other words, there’ll be no slacking.
“I think we certainly have some issues in our society right now. Obesity is a huge obstacle when it comes to health and fitness,” Higgins said. “I think programs like this,
that can capture large numbers ” especially in a specific industry like we have, certainly can make a difference.”
Higgins hopes that the ski instructors who partner up with ZoneOne not only encourage their clients to join the program, but utilize it themselves. The educational tools and fitness exercises are also geared towards progression, so that ski instructors, young or old, can improve their teaching skills, Higgins said.
“I think we’re offering something very unique ” that hasn’t been touched upon in this industry,” Higgins said. “Skiing, if you really think about it, you have family, equipment to lug around, tickets to buy.
“You yourself may be struggling with altitude and the physical parts of the sport. Are you enjoying your vacation?”
Higgins hopes his program will ensure more vacationers are having fun on the mountain, not just surviving their visits ” but actually enjoying them.
“It’s a preparatory tool. It helps ski pros become more fit and it’s overall a great program for everybody. Hopefully, it’ll increase skier visits.”
For more information, visit http://www.zoneonesportsscience.com, or call Higgins at (425) 605-2607.
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