Posted on September 20 2016
Training tips, the mental game and cutoffs
I have been skiing touring for a lot of years and I am blown away by how hard it is those first few time every year. It reminds me that ski touring or splitboarding is at first a better way to hike and enjoy the serene beauty of nature, at least until you have the fitness. Then there is Joe Howdyshell, wearing cutoff jean shorts, Pit Vipers, and bringing the pain at your local vertical race. It also turns out that my training regiment and my training diet of donuts and beer may not be the most efficient way to get in shape for the next ski season. Luckily Joe, founder of the Summit Endurance Academy and coach for the United States Ski Mountaineering Team, was in the studio to drop some knowledge and set us straight.
We call this "training for training". Randy and I intently listening to some tips and taking mental notes.
There is no question that ski touring is hard work, whether you are a lycra clad nerd like us pushing it for your next race, or a ski mountaineering gunning for an Alaskan peak. Or maybe you just want to feel good at the top of your local backcountry stomping grounds or just to make it look easy in front of your friends next time you ski the resort. It turns out training makes the difference. Since a day out in the mountains on skis will be somewhere between the 2-8 hour mark, I always felt like the fall was the time for low and slow days to get ready for big pushes. Joe shed some light on this and explains that it is actually the shorter harder intervals using a ski touring simulating activity that get you ready for the season faster. Try steep uphill running with ski poles, or if you really want to get specific throw a pair of tech bindings on roller skis like Joe.
There were a lot of things we learned, but we already suspected that jorts were technical apparel. Joe making the transition from summer to winter.
Lets face it the mountains in the summer are pretty sweet too and if you like backcountry skiing you are probably out playing year round. Somehow, come November, I will still be panting on my first ski tour of the year. Joe further explains that it is good to really push it in those first few workouts, it will develop that slower gear sooner, so you can drop it into cruise control on that first big mission. Also, embrace the pain. I learned a while ago that trying to distance yourself from the experience by using headphones and music causes you to lose your connection with your body and whats going on around you. After all if you didn't like pain, at least a little bit, you would be on the chairlift.
#nowintermaintenance Joe at the finish line of the Breckenridge 5 Peaks Race
If you are looking for more information on how to elevate your levels Joe put together a ski touring training plan here. I have worked with a coach before and it really helps keep you honest and pushing for the second or third lap when the snow is totally deep in the backcountry.
The new skis season is up around the bend and we are here to bring you more Totally Deep than ever. Review us on iTunes or like us on Facebook to tell us to keep going.