"You might think that stepping into a pair of skis or a snowboard, riding the lift, and carving through fresh powder down a mountainside, only to repeat the process over and over again, wouldn't be something you'd need to prepare for," the National Ski Patrol says.

"Truth is, skiing and snowboarding are high-activity sports, and if you want to make the most of them, you need to invest a little time and forethought into getting ready for the season," NSP says.

The Patrol says muscles in fine shape at the end of last season may have lost their edge over the summer, and might find a rude awakening in store ahead.

The rude awakening might be followed by a hefty dose of ibuprofen for older skiers and riders, NSP warns.

The Patrol tracked down Dave Merriam, Linda Crockett, and Dave Mannetter of the PSIA, and picked their brains for advice. The three said skiers and riders should work on aerobic conditioning, flexibility and strength.

Aerobic training might include running, biking or walking, and various machines.

Flexibility training might include stretching and yoga.

Strength training involves weights, and should cover the entire body.

All three said fitness training should start weeks before the season, but it's never too late. Besides, even if skiers and riders are not where they want to be when the season starts, winter lasts a long time and conditioning can continue after the lifts open.