Reggie Crist, 2005 X Games skiercross champion, has spent summer in full-time kayak mode since 1996. A Class V paddler, he's linked snow-to-river runs throughout the world. In Nepal, he followed a first descent of 21,246-foot Mera Peak with a journey down the Dudh Kosi River.
Body Benefit: Core Strength + Rotator Cuff Stability
Your core becomes stronger from a summer of constant balance adjustments on the water, boosting both upper- and lower-body strength and efficiency. And your rotator cuffs get stronger as you twist the paddle for each stroke, protecting your shoulders against all-too-common ski injuries.
Skill: Terrain Reading
A river - with its submerged tree stumps, narrow chutes, and mandatory airs - is the best place to build this skill. "You've got to plan every stroke. It's just like skiing in Alaska, where you've got to plan every turn," Crist says.