How To Start Your Day Right: Morning Routines From Two of Today’s Top Pros

Alex K | | BrainsBrains
Connery Lundin
Connery Lundin, Patagonia Heli ski, Cholilia, Argeninta. Photo by Adam Clark

In my pursuit of becoming a better, stronger and more focused skier I’ve found myself taking advantage of every opportunity I have to do so. In particular, the time I spend between getting out of bed and hitting the hill, my morning routine, has developed itself into what I’d almost call a ritual. A daily sequence that in the end has me prepped physically and mentally for a hard day in the mountains. I can feel the difference in my readiness to handle the snow when I’ve done everything in my routine unlike when I’ve rushed or changed the program. My entire day can fall on how well I began my day.

Water, yoga, coffee, dog walk, bathroom, stretch and roll, check the weather, get my gear, and on and on. But let’s be honest here and say that what I do every morning isn’t something you probably care about nor want to read 500 words on. Thankfully, two of the industry’s top professional skiers, Connery Lundin and Elyse Saugstad, have lent me their time to talk about what they do each and every day before heading to the mountains.

Elyse skier
Elyse Saugstad – PC Nic Alegre

We can start with possibly the worlds best female freeride skier, Elyse Saugstad. Her career ranges from the Freeride World Tour Champion to ESPN’s Top 50 Women in Action Sports to the star of multiple awards winning ski segments filmed with Matchstick Productions and TGR. Nominated for the Powder Video Awards’ “Best Female Performance” the past seven straight years with two wins she clearly knows what to do and how to get it done.

I asked Elyse to tell me a little about her morning rituals before doing what she’s best known for, getting in front of a camera and crushing lines.

The morning begins with an abrupt alarm wherein I go to hit the snooze button but am so immediately awake it’s pointless.

First things first, coffee! I turn on the electric kettle, and while I wait for the water to heat up for my green tea and coffee. Yeah, I do both! I start with the tea and then move on to coffee. I think drinking green tea daily is good for my health, and the coffee is delicious and a great kick starter. I pull out my yoga mat. I stretch and also do body alignment exercises. I had hip surgery 2 years ago and am still dealing with a bit of pain, and besides landing big cliffs as being a continuous culprit the pain has a lot to do with misalignment of my pelvis.

Once this is dialed I make breakfast, which always includes eggs.

I let Theo (Elyse’s adorable dog) out to do his “business,” and turn his hot pad on that’s lying on the couch wherein he plops down on it while watching Cody (her equally as talented, rock star pro skier husband) and I get ready for the morning. Theo travels everywhere with me so it is definitely a part of my routine.

After breaky, I wash my face, brush my teeth, grab my gear and rush out the door no matter how much time I give myself in the morning as I am generally behind Cody, whose motto is “being early is on time.” I spend a great deal of time sled-ski filming and that means a lot of 4 am wake-ups, so to not have to rely on my brain too much because it’s so early in the morning I make sure all my gear is lined out and more or less all packed up and ready to grab and go. Once I’m out the door I jump in the truck, turn on the music and get excited for the ski day!

– Elyse Saugstad

Elyse Saugstad in her Morning Routine to keep her body healthy

The 2015 Freesking World Tour Champion and star of films such as Matchstick Productions “Ruin & Rose” and “Drop Everything,” Connery Lundin is one of todays hardest chargers, he’s also a cat guy. From park to powder to après you’ll find him a few steps above you and the rest. I lived with Connery a few summers back but had to get the full rundown on his morning routine because I know it has more to it other than just his steel cut oats for breakfast.

My morning routine on a big ski day has everything to do with my preparation the night before. Whether it’s a powder day at the resort or a film day in the backcountry, my routine the night before is consistent. In extreme OCD fashion, I lay out every article of clothing I plan to wear the night before: socks, base layers, pants, jacket and face mask. My backpack is packed, lunch made and devices charged so when I wake up there’s exactly zero extra thinking to do.

Frank Shine photo
Connery Lundin after his morning coffee – PC Frank Shine

Similarly, when I have my eyes set on a new line or trick most of my mental preparation comes the night before. I’ll go to bed in a sweat visualizing different scenarios and outcomes so that when it’s time to drop in it feels like I’ve already been there and done that. In the morning I relax and move slow, take a warm shower, loosen up, drink coffee and pet my cat Mimzy. Then it’s GO time.

-Connery Lundin

When I now think about what constitutes a quality morning routine I no longer believe it’s what you do but the consistency of how you do it. Coffee or tea, stretching or yoga, dogs or cats. Either will not make you a better skier or put you on the podium but the midset that comes with builidng your routine can help you start things off in the right direction to achieve those goals. After a few months of tinkering with my routine I’ve noticed clear changes in my attitude and mentality to start my day. Of course, sometimes it’s hard to move through yoga poses at 5:15AM in a cold bedroom but I know the feeling that comes after is always worth it.

What’s your morning routine? Are you planned and prepped like Elyse and Connery or just winging it with hopes for the best? If it needs a change or you don’t have a plan just go ahead and follow the instructions of these two and you’ll be winning World Tours in no time just like them.

Alex Knuuttunen

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