Better Balance with the Paper Bag Game

A fun party game of balance and leg strength. Nobody but you has to know that this is training

Your preseasons ski workouts don't have to be drudgery. In fact, some of them can be cleverly disguised as party games. This is one that rock climbers do at parties, but it works well for skiers too, building leg strength and improving balance. In particular, it will help build the low back and the hamstrings, crucial areas for skiers.


Find a paper grocery bag, the kind with a square bottom that will stand up by itself. Gather some relatively sober friends, though alcohol can add a challenge and you can do it alone or in a large group, but it's most fun with about four to eight players. Put a paper grocery bag on the floor standing upright.

Game Play

The first player stands on one foot. No other body part can touch the floor. She bends over and grabs the paper bag in her teeth and stands up. If she touches the paper bag with her hands, she's out. If she falls over she's out. If the second foot, a hand or a knee touches down, she's out. If she stands up successfully with the bag in her mouth, she stays in the game. Now go around the circle and everyone gets a try. Everyone who is successful, stays in for the next round.

For the second round, tear about an inch or two (2-5 cm) off the top of the bag. Keep going until only one player succeeds or everyone is eliminated. Get another bag and repeat, but everyone has to change legs for the second round (this is training remember).

For a bit more challenge, you can force players to clasp their hands behind their backs or to hold their non-planted leg in their hand.

Your party guests won't even know they're training for skiing, but it's a great balance exercise. Also, as you get lower and your legs start working hard to fight for balance, all the small stabilizer muscles in your leg will be working like mad. These muscle are often weak on people who "do the machines" in the gym, but they are crucial for strong and safe skiing. So it may not feel like the burn you get on a legpress machine, but it's probably a lot more useful for actual ski fitness.