Monday, November 28, 2005

Snow Sports


Colorado is the snow sports capitol of the US. We have 25 ski areas to delight the downhill fanatics and over 11 Nordic centers for those craving a lung-busting calorie burn. Naturally speaking, Colorado has as much backcountry experiences as you can imagine. This is the time of the year to dust off the winter coat or replace the multi-colored ski racing jacket you bought to look fast and furious. It is also a time of preparation. Many of us come from dry land and in to the snow depths too quickly. The untrained transition from the dirt to the slicks can be devastating. It may be catching an edge on the second run of the day, or a pulled hamstring that ruins your snow season. The best way to avoid such a disaster is to train.

In years past, I’ve counted on my cycling and running pursuits to prepare me for skate skiing. However, this year I’ve decided to consult professionals on the matter. To start, I decided to peruse the World Wide Web. I quickly learned that roller skiing, or inline skating for skate skiers was the dominant training method. Being the fiscally conservative type, I decided to forgo purchasing a set. In lieu of the skating exercises, I decided to participate in other methods. What I learned from Nordicskiracer.com was that uphill bounding can create optimal spring-style training for skate racers. Basically, the concept is simple. Think of bounding as the running long jump without the run. Then combine that thought with a steep hill and you’re bounding. I also figured the most obvious exercise of them all would be a hard session of sprints. At first, my sprinting sessions started off slowly, as I already utilize sprinting in my cycling training. However, after a lot of coffee one morning, I decided to hit the track. At first, I took it easy and kept my sprints to only a few hundred yards. As my muscles became more accustomed to the sprinting motions, I decided to up the ante and go for 200 yard sprints. At 400 yards, I felt I had finally synthesized the lactic burn of skate skiing. Finally, I went to the gym and lifted weights. This year I moved away from a light weight/high rep philosophy to heavier weights and fewer reps. I’m not sure if my new gym method will pay off, only the upcoming skate and cycling seasons will tell.

My hope is that by training I will be able to jump in to skate skiing season with mental vigor and the strength to back it up. Injury prevention and competition success is my number one priority; having a little bit of fun is important too…

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