Putting in (Leg) Work

Downhill Skiing, Alpine Skiing, Bozeman, Montana

Putting in (Leg) Work

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Melissa Doar

How the Mountain Project got me back on the slopes. 

All winter long I ignored my husband's pleas to join him at the Mountain Project’s ski-conditioning classes. When he started in again, this time inviting me to their spring hunting-preparedness classes, I caved. I’ve always enjoyed working out, but the motivation and drive is not always there when I'm alone. The thought of exercising in a group setting with some of the elite athletes who frequent the Mountain Project was intimidating; however, those concerns quickly faded. The coaches were encouraging and provided a positive, motivating atmosphere. I found myself surrounded by athletes of all fitness levels, all with the common goal of pushing themselves to become better.

Successfully completing the 12-week hunting program, I spent last year's archery antelope season traipsing through the rolling hillsides of eastern Montana, lungs and legs feeling stronger than ever—I was hooked on the Mountain Project. So this year, when the ski-conditioning classes started back up, I didn’t hesitate. The classes are noticeably different from the hunting classes. The coaches truly understand what is physically and mentally required to be successful in different mountain sports.

The hunting preparedness focused on overall strength and stamina, while the skiing preparedness focuses more on balance, plyometrics, and leg strength. For years my version of preparing for ski season has been doing wall squats while watching Aspen Extreme. I was intrigued to see what effect the ski-conditioning classes would have on my skiing performance. 

In recent years, I've injured my knee twice, both times while skiing. It often feels weak and tired, and trying to keep up with my family has become more of a challenge. As I healed from each injury, I used my previous knee ailments as an excuse. It took working out at the Mountain Project to realize the importance of physically preparing for mountain adventures. Their classes were challenging. Each class was different and exciting, and brought me one step closer to reaching my outdoor-fitness goals. I finished each class knowing that I had pushed myself, and was rewarded with obvious progress week after week.

Consistently attending the 12-week ski-conditioning class, two days a week, I felt stronger and healthier going into last season than ever before. On opening weekend, I frequently heard the phrase “my legs are tired,” but for once I wasn't the one mumbling it. My knee gained strength and mobility, and my overall fitness was the best it had been in years.

Growing up skiing on the icy slopes of Maine, I often enjoy carving into a nice corduroy cruiser, but thanks to the supportive coaches, and the months of hard work, my legs now have the stamina and strength for nonstop laps in the powdery bumps that Montana has to offer. I am thrilled to have found the Mountain Project community and look forward to continuing to train for my next mountain adventure.


If you're interested in they're ski-conditioning classes or other programming, check them out at mountainprojectmt.com.

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