By Crystal Wright, 2012 FreeSki Would Tour Champion

Three years ago I walked into Mountain Athlete not knowing what to expect and feeling a little intimidated. Rob told me to grab a 60# sandbag and lay down with it over my shoulder and get-up. I did not know what to think about this exercise and as soon as I laid down there was no way I was getting up with this 60# bag over my shoulder. (now I can do that with no problem)

This started my training at Mountain Athlete and it has changed my life as a fitness professional and also as an athlete.

Before training at the gym I had been working as a personal trainer for a while, but never could get on a program for myself and so I never was able to see any strength gains and I had chronic back pain. I would try and put myself on a program, but it was hard to stay consistent with any particular program.

After training for just a few months my back pain went away and I could see the training transitioning into my outdoor sports, especially my skiing. My confidence in my skiing, my body and my strength as a woman athlete also increased dramatically.

Growing up as a ski racer I had always been told that athletic looking bodies were not beautiful. I now appreciate being a strong woman and being able to ski, climb and hike and am proud of being strong.

Pushing myself in the gym has helped me push myself more in my sport. Looking back on my two competition runs videos from Snowbird, UT a year apart there is a huge difference in my strength and endurance in my run.

The conditions were very similar the two years. The second year I was almost 10 seconds faster on the run and I skied a lot more powerfully.

The main thing I have noticed is how much stronger my overall core feels while skiing. The programming at Mountain Athlete has strengthened my core more than any other programming I have done. It is amazing how core intensive skiing is and the core is not able to become as strong without direct training. I am able to stay on my feet more while competing and am a lot more compact in the air.

The last couple years I have have had to overcome some major injuries. Training at Mountain Athlete has helped me come back stronger than ever. Training while injured has helped me learn more about my body and how important it is to stay functionally and mentally strong.

My first injuries started about a 2 years ago when I broke my right Fibula. I trained hard through the summer mentally and physically and was able to win the first stop on the Freeskiing World Tour in Las Lenas, Argentina.

My leg still hurt and I had not skied since March, but my strength training in the gym helped me to prevail. This started my mission of winning the 2012 Freeskiing World Tour.

I trained 2 days a week through the season to maintain my strength, which I think is so important to skiing strong through the entire season. Certain muscles become neglected just through skiing all the time, so it is so important to maintain the functional muscles especially the core and stabilizer muscles.

Rob also helps us maintain durability so that we are less likely to become injured through the season.

I believe my preseason training and my continued training through out the season helped me to win the Freeskiing World Tour. I am currently coming back from a broken Tib/Fib from a bike accident and I would never be as far as I am without the help of Rob and Mountain Athlete and strength training in general.

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