This entry comes to CSCUSA from Instructor of the Year Doug Sakata of Copper Mountain. We chatted with him about some of his favorite tips and insights when it comes to skiing now that the season is underway. Check back tomorrow to read our interview with the Spencer Nelson All-Star Athlete of the Year, Keaton McCargo of the Telluride Ski and Snowboard Club.
Doug Sakata has taught alpine skiing, telemark skiing and snowboarding for 25 years, and has not missed a season since arriving at Copper in 1989. Sakata’s hunger to train and gain available certifications quickly marked him as both a leader and dedicated instructor. His development of an on-hill training curriculum helped more than double student retention rate in just one year. The personal attributes he possesses ensured that Sakata’s private lesson request rate has not dropped below 80 percent during the past decade, which includes most years where it is above 90 percent. Sakata is consistently approached by colleagues for advice and instruction, and as such, was able to win Instructor of the Year for Colorado.
1. When snowboarding/skiing, what’s the best stretch or training technique you would recommend to really maximize flexibility in your body when on the slopes? Any particular area of the body where it’s more important to target?
I believe that yoga is one of the fountains of youth. It is different than stretching in that it has a balancing component that is crucial to snowboarding or skiing. Many times snowboarders or skiers focus only on lower body stretches. These are important, but the upper body ability to move, aid in balancing and recovery moves, are just as important. Therefore, yoga moves and stretches that help with keeping the spine flexible as well as the arms and shoulders loose are just as important.
2. What’s the best breakfast before a day out on the slopes when either skiing or snowboarding? What foods especially keep up your energy and strength for the day?
I like granola or oatmeal. Something with some protein, low in fat and sugar will keep you going a lot longer than a donut and coffee!
3. What’s a good exercise for more seasoned skiers who are preparing to get back into the sport this winter and looking to maximize their power and strength?
Again, look to yoga! There are so many types out there now. Some focus more on the athlete and more strength-based poses. Core strength is also critical to prepare for the ski/snowboard season.
4. In terms of injury prevention when skiing or snowboarding, are there certain pieces of gear you would recommend over others that help? Are there certain stretches or exercises you should do before or after a ski session in order to keep your muscles loose?
Poor fitting equipment (ie: too big boots, too long skis) can cause falls which can lead to injuries. Make sure your gear that you own or rent is the right fit and appropriate to your skill level. There are snowboards and skis that are built more for beginners as well as some that are better suited to the more advanced. Always make sure you don’t stretch a cold muscle. Take a slow warm up run or two, then do some stretching.