height/size and ski touring

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  • #60796

    This is our second season of ski touring, made somewhat of an effort to get in shape preseason this year (full time professionals without a lot of time to work with unfortunately) , and did a fair bit of hiking/intro mountaineering in the offseason. Picked up the training for the new alpinism book and did a modified base plan for 8 weeks. My wife and I basically did the same training regime, and our Aerobic threshold and anaerobic threshold tests are quite similar. She’s 5’4 110 lbs, I’m 6’10 245 lbs. I am not an elite athlete but not overweight and have reasonably low body fat i would assume. We both have avi bags, so she is carrying a lot more weight for her size than me on her back, but she can get away with a lighter setup skis/bindings/boots then me.

    We went out for the first time this weekend and she absolutely crushes me on the uphill by the end of the day. We stopped after 3 runs about 1200m, which i was happy with for day 1 but my wife could have easily done another run and me not so much. I only ate a bit more than her, for breakfast (oatmeal) and same amount during the day, I prehydrated about twice as much. Technique on the uphill probably about the same, although i don’t have great flexibility for kick turns with long skis.

    Is this just an example of you can’t beat physics? How much fitter than her do i need to be to keep up? Perhaps i didn’t get enough calories in me for the day? Are their elite tall ski mo people out there or is this a sport that smaller people tend to excel in?

Posted In: Ski Mountaineering

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    Aaron on #60806

    I don’t have any size insights, but my understanding is that AeT and AnT are unique to an individual and shifts in those #s for that person are relative to their fitness. So not applicable to compare across to yourself as an indicator of theoretical fitness equivalency.

    I think your’re going to have to look at deeper training history (last 5-10yrs), recent training history (last 6 months), immediate history (last few days of training or illness), technique etc for differences in the apparent fitness.

    For example, if I did a muscular endurance workout 1 or 2 days ago, and am in a higher volume week or block, I will not have the same performance as an equivalently fit friend who just had a lighter rest week. As another example, I have 30yrs of ski history and my up and down technique and my thermoregulation is way smoother than someone who is a yr or 2 into the sport. Similarly, if I am coming down with or recovering from a cold, my performance tanks.

    tim on #60809

    Thanks Aaron for the input! Good points re AeT/AnT testing. I guess I could look into measurements that are better between individuals, but in general I am quite confident our baselines fitness/training over the past few years is pretty similar, and doesn’t explain the pretty big differences at the end of a day touring.

    I don’t notice any major difference in our fitness when doing brisk 1200m hike instead, so perhaps I’m under weighting technique or effect of much heavier boots/skis

    At the end of the day i know i just need to put in more zone 1/2 time anyway, but curious if anyone had insights on the difference.

    Aaron on #60818

    Are you on a heavier class of skis and boots? I’ve sure found my aging body appreciates the lighter gear.

    tim on #60820

    I’m on Scarpa maestrale rs, they were the only boot I could find in a 32. Skis are prior overlords with carbon in 197 length with zed 12 bindings. Last year was on zero g 188s. Was breaking thru the skin track consistently, these new skis did much better for that.

    I measured stuff after work tonight while putting gear away, boots/bindings/skis weigh 1.7kg less per foot for wife’s setup.

    sbr on #60824

    I am pretty tall as well and my wife is smaller and shorter than your wife.
    From my experience smaller, lighter people tend to slow down much more from heavy packs than bigger guys. Even though this seems to be more of an issue in ski mountaineering where packs are generally heavier.
    However, I wouldn’t underestimate the importance of technique and efficiency, also on the uphill. You can “waste” a lot of energy trying to balance out bad kickturns, lifting your skis up by an inches with every step etc. This can really drain even fit guys very quickly.
    You mentioned that this is only your second season, so I would probably start looking there.

    1.7kg weight difference per foot is quite a lot as well.

    Aaron on #60854

    1.7kg per foot is a fairly substantive difference. I had to do a couple laps last winter on clunky frame bindings, oh man was that a cruel experience after having only every toured on light 3-pin or tech bindings.

    brianbauer on #60868

    physics is a factor. moving more mass over the same terrain requires more calories.
    Power(watts), work(joules, kinetic energy), mass, velocity, etc are all part of physics.

    one calorie can produce something like four units of work(joule). you are more than 2x the mass of your wife, and therefore you are doing far more work(measured in joules) than your wife to move your mass over the same terrain. in simple terms, you need to consume far more calories than your wife to support your efforts over the same terrain.
    if you are taking in calories suitable to your mass, and your wife is still outperforming you on climbs, her sustained power/weight ratio(FTP, etc) is higher than yours.

    my explanation here is not perfect, and physiology is very complicated and unique to each person, but if nothing else, you need to eat alot more than your wife.

    tim on #60889

    Thanks everyone for insights!

    I’ve realized that even if our skinning abilities were similar, with heavier setup I’ll pay a steeper price so that could be a part of it.

    Also going to make a point of trying to eat much more for breakfast and during day next time. For the first 2 hours I’m more or less keeping up, then tank towards the end of the day, could be glycogen stores getting used up perhaps.

    NE Rando Race Series on #61036

    “We both have avi bags, so she is carrying a lot more weight for her size than me on her back, but she can get away with a lighter setup skis/bindings/boots than me.”
    How different are your boot-binding-ski setups? If she’s in an entirely different class of gear weight than you, then that can make a huge difference.
    As for the optimal body size for skimo, one of the fastest racers out East is such a tall strong guy that he qualifies for Clydesdale in running races (even though he of course is anything but fat).

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