Snowbrains: The 2021 Season

Miles Clark is a pro-freeskier, mountain guide and founder of Snowbrains, an expert source of information for skiers and snowboarders on snow safety and information.  

What’s the biggest change you're making to how you approach this ski season?
I'm making sure to wear my mask anytime I'm at the ski resort, in the lodge, and in the parking lot. I'm also skiing less aggressively this season to avoid ending up in the hospital where our health workers are already facing a pandemic and resources are short this season.

What’s the best advice you’d have to recreational skiers this ski season to make the most of the season and stay healthy?  
Wear a mask. Take supplemental vitamin D to boost your immune system. I also advise taking your skiing aggression down a notch. The hospital is no place you want to be this season and you literally may not even have access to an ICU.

How do you plan to stay healthy throughout this season? 
I plan to wear my mask whenever at a ski resort and any other time I'm inside or within 6-feet of people outside my own home. I plan to use common sense to avoid COVID and I plan to continue to behave in public as if I have COVID so as to not infect others in the unfortunate case that I could be asymptomatic.  

To boost my immune system I’m using D+ Lotion. I've been using D+ Lotion daily for a while now and I've already seen my vitamin D levels go up. This is especially important this season as we're all wearing masks at the ski resort so exactly 0% of our skin is exposed to the sun while skiing. This makes it even harder this winter to naturally acquire vitamin D, since sun exposure is the only way to naturally manufacture vitamin D.  

Given resort restrictions, a lot of new backcountry skiers are emerging this year. What’s your advice to them to stay safe and make the most of it? 
I'm excited and concerned for these people. My advice to them is to get educated - take in person avalanche classes.  Get all the required gear and learn how to use it: avalanche transceiver, probe, shovel.  I recommend they get an avalanche airbag backpack.  Experts have stated that a deployed avalanche airbag backpack will likely save about half of those who would have otherwise died in an avalanche.  I also recommend they purchase an inclinometer and keep their skiing and climbing on slopes below 30º of steepness when there is significant avalanche danger. Slopes below 30º of steepness rarely avalanche.

How do you get prepared for each season - do you make changes to training or nutritional routines? Has this changed this year?
To get ready for each ski season I put a lot of energy into running, plyometrics, core exercises, and watching ski movies! The exercise gets my body ready for the large forces of skiing hard, builds muscle, and keeps my ligaments safe. The ski movies get my mind ready for the moves, flow, and mental acuity it takes to ski at a high level.  

In normal years, I usually ski all of August and September in Argentina then guide a ski trip in Tierra Del Fuego & Antarctica in November. These trips really help me get ready for ski season by simply skiing. This year, those trips were canceled so I was forced to put added time, energy, and mental focus into ski and climb specific training. That training was greatly aided by PR Lotion as I was able to train harder, recover faster, and progress faster than I would have been able to without it.  

How do you use PR lotion as a training and recovery tool to maximize your skiing experience?
When I know I'm going to have a big ski day, whether that be in the backcountry or the ski resort, I slather on PR Lotion to both legs, both glutes, and my lower back. I let it dry for 20-30 minutes, then I gear up and head out. The menthol and bicarb in the lotion wakes up and loosens my muscles right away and then I really notice the bicarb working towards the end of the day when I'm still charging and still keeping up with the 20-year-old punks I ski with at 3:30pm!

What does your ski day checklist look like, to make the most of each ski day? 
1. Hot shower. 
2. 20-minute stretch.
3. Big, healthy breakfast.
4. Put PR Lotion on legs, glutes, lower back.
5. Thoroughly pack backpack and organize all necessary gear.
6. Make a strong plan for the day.
7. Share the plan with loved ones.
8. Communicate with the day's ski partners.
9. Reassess plans at trailhead or ski resort and continually reassess plans as conditions, partners, energy levels change throughout the day.
10. Come home safe.

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