In what seems to be the conceptual antithesis to City Surf Fitness, PowderHeart (a ski-inspired workout) is hosting a pop-up in Lakewood through August 31 before settling down into a more permanent space later this year. Though I’m complete trash at skiing, I stopped by for a morning and (for good measure) an afternoon workout this week to get a feel for the new concept.
I can barely lift my arms as I type this, so you’re welcome.
The Idea: Though PowderHeart is Dallas-based, the concept originated in Aspen, Colorado, one of Dallas’ favorite second homes. Basically, skiing is a good workout. The kind of calorie-obliterating workout that makes you feel like you can eat whatever you want after it. But you need mountains to ski, which Dallas wholly lacks, so founder Charles Givens decided to find a way to simulate the experience for us sea level-based people.
The Workout: PowderHeart is a series of four-to-six-minute circuits spent “Downhill” (the “ski” part), in “Backcountry” (weights and a workout bench), and doing “Moguls” (using a Bosu ball). Each class comes out to about 40 minutes.
“Downhill,” of course, is the big differentiator and draw for PowderHeat. The cardio portion utilizes the Concept 2 SkiErg Nordic skiing machine, which you may have seen once in Equinox and been utterly stumped by. It makes sense here, surrounded by ski-inspired paraphernalia and accompanied by a primer from an instructor. It’s similar to a Versaclimber (another low-impact machine) in that it feels very odd, and then very hard, but, ultimately, a lot more fun than a stationary bike or treadmill.
The Space: I mentioned “ski-inspired paraphernalia,” but that doesn’t quite do it justice. PowderHeart aesthetically commits to its Aspen theme wholeheartedly. In each cubby there’s a photo of an iconic skier, such as Princess Diana. One wall features a framed shot of Wayne Wong. There’s an outrageous meta mural by Mariel Pohlman featuring Donald Trump and Kim Kardashian après ski and I’ll just leave it at that. They aren’t necessarily theme-y, but twinkly lights and several disco balls cover the studio.
PowderHeart claims every inch of its small space, and when you’re halfway through a round of burpees, catching a glimpse of a glossy ski editorial or Princess Diana looking pensive in a knitted cap is a welcome distraction.
The Gist: You wouldn’t think Dallas’ saturated fitness scene would need another circuit workout, but with the addition of the SkiErg, PowderHeart offers a unique option. Also, in the two classes I went to, the vibes were welcoming and positive, which matters in the community-focused world of boutique fitness.