Ski Trip Training Advice
It goes without saying that arriving fit and well is important if you want to get the most out of your ski holiday – and is essential for succeeding on many of our harder ski tours and expeditions.
The 5 fitness levels we use (detailed on each course page and also here) are designed to give you an idea of how active you need to be during the 2-3 months prior to your ski trip, in order to be well prepared. You don’t need to be an athlete, but you do need to be active and healthy (for our harder trips, some regular training will be neccesary).
Checking Your Fitness
To check out how mountain fit you are, we suggest you get away for a weekend early in this period and do a couple of long mountain days to see how you get on. Apart from being the ideal excuse to go and have some fun, it should help with your preparation and give you a good idea how much work you may still need to do.
Please note that we are talking about cardiovascular exercise here – that gets your heart and lungs working hard for extended periods, in order to help you keep going for several hours at a time. This is very different from strength or power training such as weights/rowing etc, which do little to improve your mountain stamina. For technical ski weeks, if you can get out and do some skiing earlier in the season this is ideal preparation.
Which Type Of Exercise?
The best preparation for mountain sports always involves good amounts of cardiovascular exercise (hillwalking, running, cycling, mountain biking etc) and getting out for long days in the hills whenever possible. We’ve noticed that people who always train indoors are never as mountain fit as those who regularly get their boots or trainers muddy. So unfortunately it seems that running on a treadmill just isn’t as good for you as doing the real thing – ie to get hill fit, get outdoors as much as you can.
Having done a lot of training over the years preparing for ski seasons, we found that mountain walking, running and cycling are all good ways of getting fit. In terms of ‘bang for your buck’ – cycling especially gives you a good cardiovascular workout and a similar kind of leg strength beneficial for ski touring. Mountain biking is probably the best, as the climbs are steeper and it’s a dynamic balance sport on the descents – just like skiing. However, any form of cardiovascular exercise is beneficial, especially if it involves going uphill!
Cardiovascular team sports (eg football, rugby, hockey etc) and racket sports (eg squash) are also good forms of training if you enjoy playing hard. These have the advantage that you usually have a regular slot for doing them, so it tends to actually happen!
Finding Time To Train
Ok – so you’ve decided you need to get fit for the trip. The first thing to do is take a look at the required fitness levels for your chosen holiday – this will give you a guideline as to the amount of weekly cardiovascular exercise you should be doing during the 2-3 months leading up to your trip.
Once you’ve got this, take a look at your weekly routine and look for places where you may be able to find the time to train. Running or cycling to work a couple of times a week, training on a lunchtime etc are all places where you may be able to fit a good exercise session in without affecting other commitments.
The best way to keep it up is to organise a regular group of friends to do sport with each week, or join a club in order to train with other people. That way you’ll have a commitment to turn out each week, as well as enjoying the social aspects of sport as well.
Finally – if you are into new sports, then anything with the word ‘Nordic’ in it is going to be very good for you in developing ski touring fitness – eg Nordic Walking, Rollerskiing, Nordic skating etc – but you’ll have to get very used to being stared at in the park…