i'm listing these in order of importance for me
1) put 50# into a pack & hike up and down
stairs for 30 minutes a few times a week. i killed the bull below about a mile right of the high point at the upper right of this pic (a mere 5 miles from the truck). the pack out was brutal (but they all are)
2) be prepared to take shots at 400-500 yards- even though you're much more likely to get a close shot over there, the confidence will be invaluable.
i spotted this guy at 800+ yds, but he headed for the trees right after. i was able to get inside 100 in heavy timber before i saw him (bedded). i had been shooting targets at 400 a few days before, so i didn't even have to think about the shot. btw- there was over 8" of snow on the ground 24 hours after this picture was taken.
3) Schnees pack boots- for hiking in mixed terrain & variable conditions there's no better choice (they're comfy & warm as heck, too). this pic was taken a week into rifle season.
4) practice ranging random things at all distances within your comfort zone- and getting your crosshairs on them! elk don't typically give you long to take the shot, so you need to have your LRF dialed & be quick with your rifle (he who hesitates ends up with tag soup). this joker gave me just enough time to get one picture before he bolted into the trees...i had the camera ready- not the
5) find out where you're going to be hunting & spend some time getting to know it on google earth