First day on the hill is right around the corner for those of us in the northern hemisphere!
Here's three free things you can do right now to help make that first day more comfortable.
1) Increase your foot strength to reduce pain and fatigue:
Walk barefoot as much as possible. Walking barefoot engages the small fast twitch muscles in the feet that are used while snowboarding.
Add foot and calf specific exercises to your workout:
Stair Calf Raises - strengthens arch muscles and calf muscles
Marble pick ups - increase foot strength and build neural pathways that will help increase reaction times while snowboarding. You don't have to use marbles - you can use anything small - a pen or pencil is common.
2) Wear your boots around the house.
This is especially important if you have brand new boots to break in, but don't skip this just because your boots felt great at the end of last season.
Wear them with the socks that you plan to be snowboarding in - sock thickness directly impacts fit.
Take note of any pressure points or loose areas (heel lift) - get these problem areas fixed BEFORE going snowboarding.
This is also a good time to inspect and replace any worn laces or Boa hardware.
3) This one is not the most glamorous, but it's super simple and often overlooked - leading to serious pain. CLIP YOUR TOENAILS!
I just went on a hike the other day in some shoes that I had not worn in a long time. The toe box is just a bit narrower than my regular shoes and it was just enough to push the toenail of one of my middle toes into the side of the toe next to it - causing a painful cut and a shortened hike! If my first day on the hill was cut short because of this - I'd have been super bummed.
Others are familiar with "toe bang" and/or black toenails after snowboarding - this can usually be prevented just by keeping them trimmed.
Do you have any other preseason foot/boot prep that works for you? If so, I want to hear about it - shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Peace and Powder!