Training for Skimo in a flat place

  • Creator
    Topic
  • #42797
    DanM
    Participant

    I’ve been wanting to get into skimo racing for years, and only now do I have the money to put down on gear and races. The big problem I have is that I currently live in the Midwest. My plan is to train with what’s available to me and then travel out west once or twice this season (assuming COVID doesn’t stop skimo like it has everything else).

    I’ve read through the relevant chapters on skimo in TFTUA, and already know the basics like how the best skimo workout is laps up and down groomers. I tried reaching out to the “bigger” hills (~500 ft. of vertical) within a couple hours of me, and sadly none of them allow uphill travel. However, there is a small hill (~80 ft. vertical) near me with snowmaking equipment where it’s easy enough to go during off hours and skinning wouldn’t be a problem. Furthermore, there are some other hills with about 100 ft. of vertical that have paths with a grade of 7-25% (here I’d be limited to just natural snow, which we don’t get much of here in Chicago, save for the ski simulations). Will I still get a benefit from doing laps up such small hills if I have to transition that frequently, or is it as good as useless?

    I also recently bought a pair of classic roller skis. I noticed most of the discussion on roller skiing in TFTUA centers around using them for ME workouts, but I was wondering if they’d be good for aerobic base work, especially for someone like me who doesn’t have access to big ski hills. Additionally, would I see a big increase in benefits if I use them going up hills, or is it fine to stick with polling over flat ground? There are a couple of small hills here where going up feels a lot like skinning, but laps are tricky since they’re so unweildy on the downhills.

Posted In: Skimo-racing

  • Moderator
    Scott Semple on #42805

    I’ve been wanting to get into skimo racing for years, and only now do I have the money to put down on gear and races.

    Remember: “You date your skis. You marry your boots.”

    Too often, I’ve seen mid-to-heavyweight boots on super light skis. I assume it’s because superlight skis are way cheaper than super light boots. But a heavy boot will overpower super light skis. If you’re starting out, I would match the skis to the boot, not the over way around.

    A good starting combo is the Dynafit PDG boots and skis. Also, you probably don’t have to buy new gear. There’s lots of used stuff around. Check out the Facebook Skimo Gear Swap.

    And weight… “Light” is unfortunately imprecise. A good entry-level target is 800g skis, 200g bindings, and 800g boots (for size 27).

    …paths with a grade of 7-25%…

    20-25% is ideal.

    Will I still get a benefit from doing laps up such small hills if I have to transition that frequently, or is it as good as useless?

    It’s not useless at all. But it could be super boring. Having to do that many transitions could be a good thing if you use the time wisely. Most people avoid practicing transitions and give away tens of minutes in races because of it.

    I also recently bought a pair of classic roller skis…I was wondering if they’d be good for aerobic base work

    Yes! They would work really well. It’ll be hard to use them on anything skimo-steep, but they’ll teach you how to glide a ski because they aren’t very stable. It’s like dodging a wrench. If you can glide a roller ski, you can glide a skimo ski.

    Additionally, would I see a big increase in benefits if I use them going up hills…

    Yes, for sure, but…

    …they’re so unwieldy on the downhills.

    What I used to do is use a car and three bikes. Lock the bikes at the top of the hill, and drive down. Then ski up, bike down, repeat.

    Participant
    Dada on #42809

    What I did, I just left my skins on the ski while riding down my little hill (35m). I used older, more stable ski and boots for that. So I was able to gather a lot of repetitions.

    Participant
    DanM on #42901

    Thanks for the reply! Lots of really useful info in there!

    A good starting combo is the Dynafit PDG boots and skis. Also, you probably don’t have to buy new gear. There’s lots of used stuff around. Check out the Facebook Skimo Gear Swap.

    And weight… “Light” is unfortunately imprecise. A good entry-level target is 800g skis, 200g bindings, and 800g boots (for size 27).

    I got a pair of Dynafit PDG skis back in spring on sale, actually, so I’m already set on skis. But I have been keeping an eye out for deals on everything else. I’m a bit reluctant about shopping for boots online, since my feet are so inconsistent even outside of ski boots (my LS Bushidos are a US9.5, my Brooks Adrenalines are 8.5, my LS Nepal EVOs are 8.5, etc.). For what it’s worth, I’ve only personally owned two pairs of downhill boots, both cheaped used pairs; 28.5 Technicas and 26.0 Nordicas and when I’ve rented I usually go with 26.5s. Is my best bet to look for good deals around 26-27 and then buy when there’s a decent return policy? I’ve been eyeing up a pair of LS Syborgs (is 870g too much for my PDGs?) that there’s a great deal on but was still iffy about used/online boots.

    20-25% is ideal.

    I took a closer look at what’s available to me. Basically it comes down to:

    1. A small ski resort (80ish feet of vertical) with a 12% grade

    2. A handful of forest preserve trails with 70-110 feet of vertical with grades ranging from 7-15%

    3. A trail with 130 feet of vertical and a 25% grade but simply isn’t skiable because it’s a single track rut surrounded by prairie vegetation which stays long into the winter

    Is it best to stick to ski simulations on a more ideal slope, or should I try to get on actual snow whenever possible?

    Moderator
    Scott Semple on #42908

    All of the above? With limited terrain, I think you’ll want to mix it up, so I would use everything you have.

    I’ve had the same experience with LS shoes… I order a size larger in LS than I wear in everything else.

    I think the Syborg would be a good match for the PDG ski.

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