Perfect workout | AspenTimes.com

Perfect workout

Ron Rash

Aspen, CO ColoradoB.B. could trace her family lineage to slaves who worked on a plantation outside Jackson, Miss. Her parents moved to Iowa to better their lives. Her father worked in the John Deere tractor factory. They also brought with them Southern cooking and all of its detrimental side effects. When they invited me to dinner, I had no problem eating two or three helpings of jambalaya with a six-pack of Mountain Dew.Within six months of being married to B.B., my weight ballooned from 140 to 212 pounds. I was doing my own version of “Super Size Me.” Thank God I was 18 and my body could tolerate the kind of physical abuse that would send me to an early grave today.I should mention why we married so young. We were lustful and religious, and all the praying in the world would not keep us from mating.I was so disgusted with my newfound physique that I started working out and haven’t stopped yet. Needless to say, I was pretty happy when I moved to Aspen and discovered a lot of other people who apparently had youthful eating disorders and a compulsion for exercise to the extreme.I found that a winter of downhill skiing produced strong legs but at the same time did little for my cardio conditioning. So I started nordic and backcountry skiing, which did wonders for my cardio and not as much for my leg strength.The nearly perfect winter workout, combining both cardio conditioning and leg strength, is hiking and skiing Highland Bowl. There is absolutely nothing quite like hiking the bowl, skiing the steeps and doing it over and over again.There is a certain etiquette to hiking the bowl, and it begins with the fact that people have different hiking speeds. The problem arises with the other fact that there is just one flight of stairs. I’m afraid to say that, no matter what speed you go, you don’t have to move out of the stairs for fast people. It’s nice if you do, but don’t feel obligated. I should point out that most people do let fast people pass.The fast people need get out of the stairs and politely pass in the untracked snow to your left. As they’re passing you, have some fun with them and speed up. Keep smiling at them and give it your all. The longer you keep them off the stairs the harder their workout, which is exactly what they want. You know you’ve really had fun with them if they get back on the stairs behind you. Some fast people actually count laps and try and get in four or five laps a day. The current unofficial record is 7, I think by the Marolt boys. The unofficial record on tele skis is six, and that was after she had hiked up from the base. Yes, that was by a female who likes to keep a low profile and, if I mentioned her name, she would kick my butt. It’s hard to believe she’s an architect and only gets outside occasionally. An official lap starts from the top of the Loge chair to the top of Highland Peak. If you drop in at Hyde Park, Boxcar or Mosh Pit, it doesn’t count as a lap. Of course, you could go to the top and then come back to make it count.An official lap has to be traveled on your own power, not by riding the “pussycat.” Some people call it a snowcat, but my friend Richard calls it the pussycat.If you’ve been up hiking the bowl you may have noticed some people wear a pack so they can change clothes and bring food and drink. Generally speaking, those are slow people. Fast people fill their pockets with energy bars and maybe a small water bottle. They don’t bring extra clothing; they have to shiver and cuddle on the chairlift. I try not to ride the chairlift with the shiverers and cuddlers because they smell funny. They’re not up there for what most people associate with the idea of pleasure.One other important point: You may notice the views are as spectacular as anywhere in Colorado, or the world for that matter. Lift your head up and enjoy the view. Some people describe their spiritual beliefs as being outside or being at one with the mountains. The ridge hike to ski the owl quite possibly gets as close to attaining this concept as anywhere on earth, along with being the perfect workout.Ron is a local mountain guide who considers himself a slow person and will politely let anyone pass. Ron can be reach at ronlrash@aol.com

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