Advice on best fit for ski mountaineering plan

  • Creator
  • #25694

    I am looking for some advice on best fit combinations of UA plans , specifically:

    -What plan(s) would you recommend for ~16-20 weeks of ski mountaineering prep that would dovetail into the 20 week mountain running Big Vert?

    -I have more prep time than the ~8 week ski mountaineering plans. I presume I don’t need the the intensity that would come with the skimo plans.

    -I am currently thinking the 16 Week Big Mountain Training Plan would be a good fit modifying slightly part way through the winter to be more ski specific and repeating the last 4 weeks of at the end to get to 20 weeks.
    -Or would the 12 week Freeride Training Plan be better?
    -Aerobic work would be partly hiking, running, snowshoeing and ski mountaineering depending on the season and conditions.
    -Gym work can’t rely on squat racks etc, just basic dumbells up to 35# and ~60# pack with sand.
    -Would running these back-to-back be ok if I am not pushing too hard and don’t have any huge overreaching events (I.e. I am not climbing denali, just ski touring in my local mountains with large pack, and the reality is that family and work life conspires against 100% compliance).

    General yearly macro cycles:

    Oct: Transition
    November to Feb: ~20 weeks build to 5 day skimo and day trips in Feb/March.
    -16 week Big Mountain? 12 Week Freeride?
    -add or repeat weeks to get to 200 based on TFTUA?
    Feb to end June ~20 weeks: build to mountain running and scrambling off trail adventures
    -Mike Foote Big Vert
    July–> Sept: maintain as long as possible

    For context:

    42 yr old male, Lots of base in my teens and 20’s from years of working/hiking in the bush.

    Kids + office job, having to work hard and be efficient to regain and maintain fitness.

    Been studying TFTNA and TFTUA since each were released, incrementally working on learning to train and building long term habits and base. This last yr was the first on a structured training plan (Mike Footes Big Vert, did ~50% of the ME and MaxS progressions, lots of room to grow into this plan).

    Have ready access to mountains and trails for both summer and winter training (including up to 1000m vert out our back door).

    I can be pretty consistent through the winter and spring but come July/Aug family holidays etc conspire against consistency. Can average ~ hrs including peak weeks ~ 10-13 hrs.

    My adventure goals are:

    – ~5 day self-supported ski mountaineering trip in ~March/April
    -a few longer ski mountaineering day trips opportunistically Feb–>May as conditions allow
    -Off-trail mountain running and scrambling exploratory adventures June–> Sept
    -All of these have to be built around family and conditions, hard to pick a hard date other than the 5 day trip.

    My ‘performance’ goals are:

    -Fit enough to be healthy and safe, not looking to break any records, Injury prevention!
    -Multi-yr base leading into my 50’s and 60’s being my fittest years since my early 20’s
    -Try to keep up to the 20 somethings without self-destructing
    -I know that my trip goals conspire against a clear peak, but I am happy to take peak performance compromise for overall general capacity spread over longer period

Posted In: Ski Mountaineering

  • Participant
    Aaron on #25708

    Edit: rather than repeat the last 4 weeks of a plan I presume I should repeat the first 4 weeks.

    Anonymous on #25716


    Thanks for writing in to us with your questions. LOTS of questions. Let me keep this simple though. You do not need another plan if you already own the Mike Foote Big Vert plan. You already own this plan. You are already familiar with it and its demands and how you responded to various types of the training it involved. This familiarity will allow you to get more out of it the more you use it. It will provide the training stimulus you are looking for in both summer and winter mountain pursuits. You can extend, shorten, interrupt and tweak any of the plans with some work and careful reading of our books.

    I think you’ll be better off just using that plan, even in heavily modified form. The shorter ski plans are generally intended for people with little time between now and their goal. They will be a lower training load that you will have been used to in the Big Vert plan so would need their own fiddling to make the most of them.


    Anonymous on #25722

    Hi Aaron,

    I don’t know the UA training plans as well as the other coaches, but I did have one thought. With this much attention to detail, you sound like a good candidate for a series of custom plans. The usual length is eight weeks, and then we can adjust and write another one.

    You can certainly stitch together pre-made plans, but being in your forties with kids and a full-time job, sometimes the custom plans are a better fit.

    Anyway, just my two cents. I’ll ask Scott J. to chime in about the pre-made plans.

    Scott S.

    Aaron on #25723

    Thanks Scott and Scott, I appreciate your advice to simply take Mike Foote general template and modify for ski mountaineering and run it twice. Your two manuals make that a relatively easy affair. I think a year or so out I would benefit from a custom 8 Week focused on how to manage a summer of ‘spending the money in the bank’ where weekends are a bunch of variable ‘b’ or ‘c’ events (not races but personal adventure goal) that may be overreaching and need to be go into lower intensity maintenance mode.

    birey on #26354

    Wow! I have a very similar question and was happy to see this was the first tread in the Ski Mountaineering Forum. Must be that time of year. I have completed 2.75 of four 32-week ski mountaineering training cycles in the past four years. The first year I was able to train 400 hours. The last three years I’ve planned around 275 hours per year. One year I had to quit mid way due to a new job, house, etc. I’ve been planning on targeting 300 hours for this year. All four training plans have been written by myself, based off of your first training book. I’ve just finished Training for the Uphill Athlete and have signed up for and am looking to purchase a training plan.

    Last year I wrote in about my perceived weakness on the downhill portion of my ski mountaineering exploits and Scott J. suggested I use the 12 week free ride training plan to build my edge-holding and survival skiing thru Montana timber specific strength. Should I purchase the 12 week free ride and modify to be 32-weeks annual training plan or should I purchase the 24 week mountaineering plan, that is most like what I’ve been doing for years, and modify it? What intrigues me about the 12 week free ride is the sport specific strength training. Thank you!

    birey on #26551

    Answered my own question. Purchasing the 12 week freeride and will modify to approx 32 weeks.

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