Sarah Coleman, left, and Cara Marrs lunge their way up the steps at the rodeo grounds at Howelsen Hill. Coleman, a personal trainer at Fusion Fit in Steamboat Springs, said the area can offer a full-body workout without any expensive equipment.

Photo by Joel Reichenberger

Sarah Coleman, left, and Cara Marrs lunge their way up the steps at the rodeo grounds at Howelsen Hill. Coleman, a personal trainer at Fusion Fit in Steamboat Springs, said the area can offer a full-body workout without any expensive equipment.

Rodeo grounds offers full-body workout

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Coleman, left, and Marrs execute triceps dips on the steps at the Howelsen Hill rodeo grounds, lowering themselves with their arms and pushing back up.

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Marla Bailey pulls into a one-legged squat in the stands at the rodeo arena in downtown Steamboat Springs. Bailey works out at the arena several times a week. She picked up many of the exercises by taking a ski fitness class from Chris Voyvodic at Old Town Hot Springs.

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Bailey leaps from step to step at the rodeo grounds, holding a squat position as she lands.

— The concrete grandstands at the Brent Romick Rodeo Arena at Howelsen Hill in downtown Steamboat Springs have the feel of an ancient Greek temple.

The stands are so broken and buckled, they look like they survived an earthquake.

To many, there's much more there than a crumbling relic, though. To many, the rodeo grounds are the perfect place for a workout.

It's all there. The steps make for a perfect obstacle. The track around the rodeo arena is generally smooth and an easy jog, and the trails of Howelsen Hill are only yards away for a quick trail lap or short bike ride.

"You can do an entire workout with zero equipment," Fusion Fit personal trainer Sarah Coleman said. "People think they have to be confined to a gym, but it's so cool to get out here, outside."

With everyone in Steamboat preparing for the coming winter sports season, the rodeo grounds offers a perfect place to get in shape.

Here are two days of workouts - perhaps one week's worth - to help you get going, from Coleman and Cara Marrs, who are leading an eight-week ski fitness program for Fusion Fit.

Workout Day 1

- One lap around rodeo grounds, about half a mile

- 50 step jumps on stairs

Leap from the bottom of the stands to the first step and then either back down or continuing up.

- 50 triceps dips

- Slow and continuous lunge up to top of stairs, pulse for 10 counts

After reaching the top, "pulse" for 10 counts by doing 10 more lunges without actually taking any more steps.

- 25 decline push-ups

Ski fitness is often about core strength and abs and thigh workouts, but arms can be important, too.

"If you're skiing powder, you absolutely have to have your arms in shape because you're working, you're turning and you're twisting all day." - Marrs

- 50 one-legged squats on each side

- Static squat, one minute

On a step or on the flat ground, pull into a squatting position, sticking the butt out at as far as you can for 60 seconds.

- 50 crunches

A cushioned pad or even a towel can come in handy for crunches and push-ups.

- Slow lunge up to the top with an oblique twist at each alternate step

- 100 mountain climbers

From the base of the steps, hunch over and extend your arms to the front of the first step so your body is arched. Then, without moving your hands, leap and put one foot forward and the other back. Leap again and switch them. Two down, 98 to go.

- Take a five-minute trail run lap around trails above rodeo stairs.

Repeat 2 to 4 times

Most of the ski fitness workouts offered by personal trainers in town last an hour or more, but plenty of work can be done in less time. Repeat this circuit for 30 minutes, and you'll be doing fine.

Workout Day 2

- One lap around rodeo grounds

"Start with one lap on track because if you come totally dry from sitting in your desk and start doing some of these, it won't be a very good idea." - Coleman

- 50 step jumps

- 50 jumping jacks

- Plank 1 minute

Hold pushup position

- 50 squats

"Some of the exercises I do with my clients, it's like when do you ever do that in real life? But when you squat and you lunge, you do that in your life. Those are normal, functional things." - Coleman

- 50 calf raises on stairs

Many of these exercises may be good for anyone wanting to get in shape; calf raises in particular can be important for snowboarders.

"I always found my ankles and calves were sore after snowboarding. There's more movement in snowboard boots than in Alpine or tele skiing boots, so your ankles and calves have to work a lot harder to keep you stable." - Coleman

- Sprint up to top of the stairs and run down in the middle twice

- Lunge to top of steps, pulse for 10 at top, run down in middle

- 100 bunny hop side to side

- 50 crunches

- Run a five-minute trail lap

A trail is on the west end of the stands. Run up and around the stands, up a steep slope, back down near the Howelsen Ice Arena, back up toward the top of the rodeo steps and then down into the arena via an opening at the top of the steps.

It's a short trail, less than 400 meters, but contains three good uphill sections and several tough downhill areas.

Repeat 2 to 4 times.

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