Ready For Winter? Part I
(Editor's Note: This is the first in a three-part series - both video and written - on some useful training tools you can add in the dryland months, to prep for winter skiing. Curious for more? Hit us up! We're also putting together a one-day ski training clinic this fall. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you're interested and we'll make sure you get the info ASAP)
Skiers are made in the off-season. This is true whether you race ski-mo or Nordic, or seek backcountry adventures in the high peaks. Training for such pursuits requires not only diligence toward your aerobic fitness and general strength, but also creativity to hone ski-specific movement patterns in contexts that don’t involve snow.
As the sport of ski-mountaineering prepares to make its Olympic debut in the coming years, competitors seek every advantage to better their skills and fitness for these races that are often considered “Nordic skiing-on-steroids”. Incorporating some of the technique-training methods from Nordic into your weekly routine will help ensure you are establishing movement patterns which will in turn pay dividends in your next skimo event.
There are three notable ski-imitation drills which Nordic athletes have used for decades to train neuromuscular coordination for winter racing during the summer months that simultaneously target aerobic and muscular endurance in a sport-specific movement.
Phase One: Ski Walking
The first of these movements is ski walking: essentially a modified hiking stride emphasizing a greater degree of hip extension and loading the foot how you would on a ski with a skin or grip wax. Ski walking is analogous to hiking uphill with regards to intensity in that it should be low-effort and very much at or below your aerobic threshold. Especially if you're new to the movement, it will feel more muscular as you take bigger steps and engagethe posterior chain muscles to a greater degree than hiking. Think about it like box step-ups, with hip extension powering the movement.
Using poles in this exercise, as with all the phases of these dryland drills, will be very helpful to further simulate the ski-striding motion and engage those upper limb muscles.
(Example workout protocol: 45-60min aerobic uphill session, ski walking with poles on sustained climb at your AeT (aerobic threshold))