Ski Mountaineering — Your Holiday Survival Plan

Poised on the precipice of muffin top, your sloppy father-in-law, and all that yule-tide cheer, I offer you salvation this holiday season: ski-mountaineering training. Live on the flats? So what, pretend like you’re training for the worlds and you’ll be way happier come January 4. Trust me.

Find a gym, immediately. No dice? The local high school football field will do. If you’re in some faraway, semi-civlized urban setting, you *might* look up a local CrossFad gym. Blasphemy, I know, but at least you’ll get your heart rate up. When they demand you do clean-and-jerks for time, just tell them your cardiologist said you’ve got to focus on your form. Whatever you do, head into “vacation” with a plan. Some sort of plan, people!

You think I look this good by just winging it?
You think I look this good by just winging it?

You might browse the great, unwashed landscape of the web or visit The Alpine Training Center website for some ideas on work to do. You don’t need to reinvent human physiology; just get a few ideas on some lunges, push-ups, air squats — anything to get the heart rate up, resist atrophy (mental, physical, and emotional), preserve the temple you have so assiduously created, brick by brick.

Why skimo? Sure, you could pretend to be a cage fighter, Olympic figure skater, just about anything. Skimo, though, keeps your stoke for winter, might actually improve your skiing, and chances are it’ll build on what you already have going. Strong legs, good core, a bit of cardio.

arapahoe-basin-logoIf you catch the bug, then consider coming to hang at the next A-Basin sunrise rando, January 6, 2015. Our good friends at Dynafit have demos going, so if you show early (0600!), you can test-pilot some of the lightest gear ever created by Humankind You’ll be selling your park skis by noon that day! I managed to pick up some great tips from Dynafit’s Pete Swenson a couple weeks back. No matter how long you’ve been skiing, he can tweak a thing or two and help you crack the top 30. In my case. You’re probably a shoe-in for top-27. No sweat.


Whatever you do, don’t just sign on for the egg-nog-and-political-debate holiday break. You’ll come home hollowed out on the inside, with a toxic layer of adipose tissue on the outside. Protect yourself. Train for skimo. Even if you could care less about going uphill or sliding back down, train for skimo. Good luck!

Wanna get fast? Hang around to get some tips from Dynafit's Pete Swenson. Free fitness!
Wanna get fast? Hang around to get some tips from Dynafit’s Pete Swenson. Free fitness!

Rob Coppolillo is an internationally certified mountain guide and co-founder of Vetta Mountain Guides


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