Alpine Tip by Terry McLeod
Hopefully you have been involved in some type of regular exercise program to help you be in shape as soon as the hill opens, but whether you have or not, the early season is a great time to hone in on your conditioning as a foundation for the rest of the season. Often when ski areas first open they only offer a few green or blue runs which isn’t nearly as exciting as what we’d hoped for, but by making a few modifications to your skiing patterns you can turn this limited terrain into a great training venue.
Since these runs are pretty mellow there is less likelihood of pushing yourself too hard and pulling or straining muscles that are unfamiliar with skiing movements. This easier terrain gives you a chance to ski longer and gently build an endurance base. There are two ways to accomplish this: ski longer between stops, and ski longer hours than you would be able to on harder runs. By skiing with fewer stops or even non-stop runs you will both increase your muscle strength and subconsciously find a more efficient stance to ski with. If you have committed yourself to skiing the whole run but your legs are burning by halfway down, you will make adaptations to ease the strain on your muscles and become more efficient.
With the less challenging terrain your overall intensity will be lower which can allow you to ski later in the day with less risk of fatigue induced crashes. Although you don’t want to ski so much on the “boring” terrain that it leads to burnout earlier in the season, by spending more time on the easy runs now you can be in better shape to enjoy your favorite runs as the snow deepens.
Another training tip for reduced terrain is to make a type of turn other than what you naturally tend to do. Lots of short radius turns make the run last longer and require more exertion and therefore more muscle building. Skiing very slowly will challenge your subtle balancing movements and raise your awareness of stance and timing issues. Deliberately continuing turns further across the fall line than normal will push you into different duration and pacing of movements. All of these things will lead to increased versatility which means you’ll have a greater ability to adapt to whatever is thrown at you during the season.
While it’s probably not worth ditching work to come put these ideas into practice, perhaps it will provide a bit more value for early season terrain options and help you see the value of spending some focused time before the holidays, so that you can really maximize your ski days once the heart of the season is here. In the mean time keep lifting weights and stretching and we’ll see you on the hill soon.[connections_list id=12 template_name=”div_staff_bio”]