It’s January, which means that ski season is well underway — if you haven’t started it’s time to get fit!
I’ve logged about 20 days of guiding so far, the last 7 being spent up at Selkirk Lodge for a week of heli-accessed ski touring. Seven days in a row is a lot of skiing in the first week of January. To complicate matters, I had a surgery at the end of September to remove some hardware from an orthopedic injury that was bothering me. It was a minor procedure but a setback nonetheless. When I healed, starting at the beginning of November I began training in earnest: about five days a week including two days a week with a personal trainer. When I arrived at Selkirk Lodge I was feeling strong and fit — and a good thing too! The group was bunch of hard chargers mainly from Vermont and Connecticut, and the trail breaking was deep and arduous. This was not the time or the place to start getting in shape.
Get fit so that you can enjoy your skiing as much as possible… but more importantly, so that you can remain injury free.
If you are getting ready for a lodge trip, or even a couple of days of back-to-back ski touring, it’s super important to train as hard as possible to be as fit as possible. Why? Well first of all so that you can enjoy your skiing as much as possible. There’s nothing worse than feeling exhausted on the uptrack or have burning quads on the descent. But even more importantly — so that you can remain injury free.
Already one of my guests has succumbed to a season-ending knee injury that might have been prevented with better conditioning. Don’t let this happen to you!
So… what to do about it? If you already have a good conditioning program — great! Stay at it!
If you don’t — where to start? If you’re just starting to get into shape after an injury, maybe my Rehab Workout article will help get you going. If you’re already in pretty good shape and want to step it up a bit, check out my Leg Blaster article. A word of caution — leg blasters are pretty intense and demand good form. If you’ve never been coached on squatting technique or lunges, then it’s best to find yourself a personal trainer and do a couple of sessions so that (a) you don’t give yourself an injury while training (the only thing worse than hurting yourself skiing is hurting yourself training for skiing!!) and (b) that you get the most out of the time you spend conditioning — when you’re training, why spend an hour doing something wrong when you could spend 10 minutes doing it right and get more out of it, with less chance of injury. And — maybe leg blasters or your standard exercise routine isn’t the best place for you right now! A good personal trainer will help you come up with a plan that’s optimised for you, where you are at right now.
So where to find a personal trainner? Your local gym would be a good place to start. Another option would be to hire somebody like Chelsea Deschamps, who is my own trainer, and who also has a virtual personal training company called Omnia Movement and Performance. While hiring someone locally might be your best solution — there’s nothing like the face to face experience — Chelsea’s services are pretty affordable, and she’s also one of the best, a highly trained kinesiologist who has a background in elite sports herself. She’s also an avid ski tourer and works with many skiers here at the national training facility at Canmore’s nordic centre.
Here’s a couple of snippets of Chelseas demonstrating first PROPER pull-up technique, and then IMPROPER technique. I’m not exaggerating when I say that 5 quality pull-ups are harder to do (at least at first) than 15 sloppy ones. But the payback is enormous: first of all you get stronger with less chance of injury doing it right; and secondly, 5 pull-ups takes 1/3 of the time! And who wants to spend more time in the gym than absolutely necessary!
Think these look easy? Think again, Chelsea may be small but she’s an animal.
Here’s how most of us have been doing pull-ups for years: