We Tried It: A Pre-Ski Season Workout With Snowshape

This is a part of our ongoing ‘We Tried it’ series where we test out weird and wonderful things to do or see in Colorado. Go here to see what else we’ve tried. Comment below and let us know what we should do next.

Well Denver, it’s all downhill from here. On the slopes, that is. Epic and Ikon passes are paid for, ski gear is coming out of storage, and knowing Colorado weather, the first snow will be in the forecast in a matter of weeks. All of Denver is ready to hit the slopes, so the clock is ticking to get yourself in shape for the ski season. If you are yearning for powder days and early morning I-70 drives, Snowshape is the perfect place to spend your Saturdays this fall.

The Basics

Hosted by Denver’s own Fitness in the City (FITC), Snowshape is a four-week conditioning series specifically tailored for winter sports enthusiasts gearing up for the season. FITC trainers take over Red Rocks for a full hour, starting at 8 a.m., to guide attendees through an intense circuit-style workout.

Taking place across four Saturdays between September and October (September 17, September 24, October 1, and October 8), tickets run at $17 per session and $64 for a 4-pack. Each class focuses on a different element of fitness crucial to peak winter performance: stability, endurance, strength and power. Exercises are mainly done using your own body weight, so all you need is a mat and water (and maybe some coffee for the early morning drive).

With two locations around Denver, FITC is a “community-focused fitness experience” offering classes ranging from Total Body Power Hour to Yoga Cross. Specializing in high-intensity movement with a high-energy community, a monthly membership is $159, with an intro offer of 2 weeks of unlimited training for just $49.

The Experience

Attending the first Snowshape of the season last Saturday, the focus of the session was stability — a definitively crucial element of any snow sport. It was led by instructor Stefan Olander, who didn’t waste a minute of the hour-long workout.

“Week one of Snowshape was designed to build the foundation for the weeks to come as well as the foundation for our snow sports training. Using isometric holds, single-sided movements and slow progressions through movement, our stability session aided us in building balance and coordination as we move. Building a stable foundation from the ground up, from ankles to knees and up through our hips and core allows us to move more confidently and safely in our winter sports.” said Olander.

After a stretching and cardio warm-up session — as if you need any after hiking up the red rocks steps — the FITC crew led us through a HIIT workout of four rounds of four exercises, three times through each round. Each exercise went on for a minute, with minimal rest in between. It may sound daunting, but their team explained each exercise thoroughly, their images projected on the big screens alongside the stage so you could see proper form and technique.

The stability focus made for a lot of core and leg work, pushing us through exercises such as bird-dogs, side-planks and plenty of squats. FITC provided each attendee with a resistance band, which they incorporated into a lot of the exercises for added intensity. The three rounds of pistol squats somehow became both my most and least favorite exercise of the class, a humbling reminder of the strength it takes to hit the slopes.

While the workout was great, the energy was even greater. Stefan did an incredible job of encouraging the crowd, pushing us through the pain while reminding us to have fun to doing it. FITC lives up to its promise to create a sense of community, using breaks to introduce ourselves to someone new and encourage them through the workout. All this mixed with a live DJ set from Annamalistik and the Red Rocks backdrop, Snowshape is a hard class to top.

The Verdict

Whether you are looking to get yourself into peak ski shape or you just want to keep Hot Girl Summer going, Snow Shape is the workout to do this fall. The FITC instructors guide the class so it is accessible for people of all fitness levels, while pushing you to work harder than you knew you could — and while it may be difficult, you won’t regret it.

Snowshape is a 4-week winter sports conditioning series hosted by Fitness in the City. Three more sessions are available for the 2022 series, taking place on September 24, October 1 and October 8 at Red Rocks from 8 – 9 a.m. Tickets are $17 per session and can be purchased here

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