Get your ski/snowboard workout in Beverly Hills before you hit the slopes


There's a unique ski and snowboard school called SkyTech Sport right in the heart of Beverly Hills.

"You have your ski instructor directly in front of you," said former ski racer Alex Golunov, a project manager SkyTech Sport. "And you're not wearing a bulky jacket or bulky pants, so we can see the way your knees move, the way your shoulders move."

Obviously cold weather and wet snow are not an issue. Perhaps a greater motivation is the wide-angle screen that is connected to your skis with sensors that create snowy conditions. Powder, perfectly groomed packed snow or an icy plane, they can recreate it on the ski track.

"You can race, you can go down different courses and you never think of it as a workout," said Golunov.

That intrigued Andreas Hikel, who wants to get ready for the slopes.

"At least better fitness for when I get up there, so I can do full runs, not stop and rest all the time," said Santa Monica resident Hikel. "It's awesome. It's a great workout. Good fun. It burns."

And learning to snowboard in a 70-degree center might be a better bet than the slopes. At SkyTech a novice is guaranteed to avoid repeated falls in the wet snow.

They use the same track with a varied boot and board to help learn this challenging technique.

Although it was primarily designed for ski teams, if you're new to the sport you might want to take a spin on what I call the "bunny slope." The track's a bit shorter and there's a mirror in lieu of the video screen that helps newbies see progress as well as challenges.

Now even if you have little or no intention of getting on the slopes, this simulator is a great form of fitness. It attacks your flexibility, your cardio and your strength, and it's a lot more fun than heading to the gym.

"Just a little bit under the quarter of our clients don't care about skiing at all," said Golunov. "People come here just for the workout."

A 30-minute session is $55. Purchasing blocks of six or 12 discounts the price.

And if you think a half-hour isn't much time, Golunov says it's the equivalent of about 30 miles, what you might cover in a full day of skiing.

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