How winter athletes should spend their summers

Yes, snow season is over (unless you live in Mammoth, that is) and we’ve stashed our favorite winter gear in the back of the utility closet.

But just because the temperatures are skyrocketing and our beloved white hills are now caked in green, that doesn’t mean snow lovers need to go into summertime hibernation. In fact, summer is the best time to make sure you’re ready for next season — and have some fun along the way.

Well, don’t just stand there. Photo: Frank McKenna/Unsplash

Whether it’s on the trail, in the sky or in the water, here are a few of the best activities for keeping your body and mind tuned for the next time the flakes fly.

Mountain biking

Sit and spin. Photo: Thomas Schweighofer/Unsplash
Probably the closest to skiing and snowboarding as far as physical exertion and exhilaration, mountain biking is an alpine sport that requires strength, coordination and a little hunger for adrenaline.

Where downhill mountain biking is packed full of action and speed, cross-country mountain biking and hill climbing will help build the leg strength and endurance that winter-sports junkies need to hit the slopes from first light to last chair.

Highlining

A post shared by Sam Balyeat (@flightonfoot) on

The twisted cousin of slacklining, highlining has gained popularity in the mountain community over the last few years, combining balance and strength with superhuman focus and courage.

With lines set up over canyons, gorges and even waterfalls, highliners walk up to 200 feet across open air. The drops are harrowing, but participants are attached to a safety harness at all times, and the sport is safe if the right precautions are taken.

If you’re looking to grab the mental edge necessary to tackle that big-mountain line next year, highlining could be a good way to get your brain game in check.

Trail running

Get a move on. Photo: Sandro Stark/Unsplash
Cardio is a huge part of a fun and healthy ski season, so what better way to get your heart rate dialed this summer than to hit the running trails?

Because trails often offer more cushion than traditional road running, skiers and boarders can keep their joints happy after a long season on snow.

For the competition inclined, skier Julian Carr has even started his own trail-racing series, the Cirque Series, with five events over the summer and fall at ski resorts like Alyeska, Alaska, and Crested Butte, Colorado.

Climbing

Photo: Get a grip. Cindy Chen/Unsplash
Many winter athletes consider climbing their favorite off-snow activity, as it combines mental and physical strength to reach places (and heights) that would otherwise be inaccessible to the average human.

Climbing is an excellent way to improve strength as well as to learn to trust body parts like your toes and fingers. It may seem like a silly thing now, but when you have complete confidence on the knife-edge ridge next winter, you’ll know what we’re talking about.

Surfing

This is one of our favorite ways to stay fit during summertime. Photo: Austin Neill/Unsplash
Last on the list, but first in our hearts, surfing is a great off-season training tool for any snow slider. It’s no secret that every winter athlete secretly wants to be a pro surfer, but aside from the aesthetic and lifestyle appeal, surfing is a great tool for improving strength, stamina and balance.

Instead of doing burpees at the gym, work on your pop-ups on a surfboard and link up some sweet rides this summer. Be warned: Surfing is rarely easy and always humbling, so don’t be afraid to suck.

Remember, good or not, it’s all just training for next winter.

Get inspired to try these off-season sports with these posts from GrindTV

Looking for a trail race to join this summer? Try the new and enhanced Cirque Series

Taming the 'alligator' routes with climber Kathy Karlo

'World of Adventure' goes highlining in Moab with Andy Lewis