It's that time of the year when most of us dream of powder runs and long ski and snowboard days. Then, reality hits. Are we in shape for all that?

A new OnTheSnow Ski Fitness Guide has made its debut on these pages offering 15 articles with tips to help you get into shape for the new season and even to maintain your fitness level while on your skiing or riding holiday.

The first category, Getting In Shape To Ski And Ride,includes articles from waking up your ski legs, to doing the right exercises in the gym or outdoors to recommendations of the best exercise videos.

Another category, Eat Smart, Play Smart, Live Smart, features stories on eating to provide fuel for your day, some nutritional recipes, and even how to keep your budget on track while on your winter holiday.

The third category is Ski Fitness Tips And Topics. Look for articles on how to improve your balance at home and on the slopes, how to break in new boots, and getting hamstrings strong to protect your knees.

The OnTheSnow Ski Fitness Guide was prepared by Fitness Editor Brett Buckles, who also serves as associate Colorado editor for this Web site. Buckles, a former member of the U.S. Alpine Ski Team before injuries derailed her career was, at one time, America's lone female ski cross competitor. She competed in ski cross for four years and was considered the country's best hope for an Olympic medal in the sport.

She was training for a World Cup event in France during the 2008 season when she caught an edge before a jump and flew 50 to 60 feet. The crash caused multiple fractures to her lower back and pelvis.

Buckles went through a long, but successful, recovery, involving more than enough rehab and exercise to make her an expert on the subject of getting ready to ski or ride. She currently coaches ski cross for the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club, where she is attempting to create a breeding ground for the sport.

No U.S. women competed in the sport at the Vancouver Olympics. Buckles was the official ski cross coach in August 2010 at the F.I.S. World Junior Ski Cross Championships at Cardrona Alpine Resort in New Zealand.