Pregnant Athlete: backcountry skiing
Hello mountain people!
As the third pillar in the trifecta of mountain travel in which I participated this pregnancy (climbing, running, skiing) I feel obligated to write this piece. Really, there's not much to write.
When ski season began here in the frigid Methow I was fifteen weeks pregnant and I was not going to sit the season out. As the season wanes now at thirty five weeks pregnant I find myself chomping at the bit to squeeze just one more day out of the white stuff before I'm on impending-birth lockdown.
This ski season held the best powder I've yet experienced in twenty-seven seasons on snow, the biggest steepest backcountry line I'd skiied to date, too many solo days (and nights) running ski laps on my favorite mountains to count, a few fun resort days with the family, and some dang cold rides on the snowmobile up Highway 20.
My personal story aside, here are the few tips I have for you shredding preggos.
Business As Usual: Of all the methods of movement in which I participated throughout the last thirty-five weeks, skiing feels the most normal. With running and climbing, I had useful adjustments to suggest to you all or new superhuman powers. With backcountry skiing, it was business as usual. If you skiied on glaciers before, ski glaciers now. If you skiied alone before, ski alone now. If you skiied the steeps before... you get the picture.
On Balance: One of the common 'pregnancy symptoms' one hears of is loss of balance. Of the many pregnant skiers I know zero of them had an issue with balance. If you train consistently pregnancy is a slow steady change, it will not suddenly throw you off balance - that is silly. If anything the low weight of the fetus in your pelvis will act as a ballast providing more grounding and inertia for your deep, powder-parting carves. Yeah, girl.
Ignore the Doubters: Many ignorant folks' eyes bugged out of their heads seeing me mount my skis to the snowmobile to ride up to Washington Pass this winter. I ignored them and enjoyed the plentiful powder in my capable body.
Do the Work: When it comes time to lay skin track through unconsolidated, deep snow, don't play weak and let others do it for you. Take your fair turn at the head of the pack; you're pregnant, not ill or injured.
Send It!: Rather than dumbing down your skiing out of fear, shred! If it feels good, push your limits - especially on those fluffy freshies. You're pregnant, not ill or injured.
Listen To Your Wise Voice: As with any other mountain pursuit during any other time in one's life it pays to listen to the body. Skiing in the backcountry comes with manageable and objective hazards, be sure you know your tolerance for risk before going out. Listen to that little voice telling you to back away from a slope just the same as you did before you were pregnant.
As you can see here skiing during pregnancy is a breeze and requires no adaptations. However, can someone help me unbuckle my boots? No seriously, I just scored on that run but I can't bend over.