This is the plan for expert back country skiers and ski mountaineers who seek out the steep lines on big mountains. This advanced level plan is intended primarily for skiers who will skin or climb to the top of their objective. It will also serve well for heli or lift-assisted skiers looking to improve their all mountain skiing. The plan is not for novices and assumes you have a solid physical conditioning, no current injuries and have been very active over the summer but are looking to put the final touches on your fitness during the fall.

The backbone of the program is the aerobic base you bring to it. If the thought of skinning or climbing two-thousand feet in a day leaves you short of breath this is not the plan for you. In that case you should start with our Uphill Athlete 8-week Ski Hut to Hut Training Plan. The early weeks include extensive aerobic workouts to support the uphill part of your ski day along with Core and General Strength workouts. By week 6 you will be into the very demanding muscular endurance ski specific segment of this plan. The final six weeks of this plan are a mix of challenging muscular endurance workouts and aerobic training. Gear requirements for this plan are: Barbell and a squat rack. The total weight necessary will vary between athletes.

Here’s useful beta about how to purchase and start your new plan and why we use TrainingPeaks.  For specific questions about this training plan, or to send us your success story email us at Tag your training with #weareuphillathletes

Train smart. Ski well. Have fun.

Steve House
IFMGA-certified Mountain Guide, Coach, and Founder of Uphill Athlete

Uphill Athlete 12 Week Steep Skiing Training Plan

Sample Workouts:

Workout #1: Free Skiing Base Strength

Planned Time: 1:00:00

Warm up:
This is a squat based strength workout because squats are a reasonable simulation of the movements you will be making in skiing steeper terrain. Start slow but work to increasingly vigorous movements as warm up progresses so that you have broken a sweat by the end. Move from one to the next exercise with 30-60 second breaks.
1) 5 minutes of squat stretches as shown here:

2) Burpee x10
4) Air Squat x20
5) Goblet Squat x 20 use light to moderate weight (10-30lbs) (5-15kg)

Work out:
This workout is aimed at increasing your strength without adding muscle mass. We do that by keeping the number of reps in each set low and weight lifted high and incorporating a long rest of 3-4 minutes between sets. During this rest you will perform other exercises.
Ideally be using a weight that is 85-90% of your absolute max. This will be a weight you barely can lift 5-6 times with good form. However the first couple of sets of the workout also serve to additionally warm you up for the heavier lifts/ We’re using half squats rather than full squats as the exercise because its range of motion is most similar to the range of motion when skiing.

As you notice strength increases from workout to workout you will need to increase the weight being lifted. Do this gradually and even from set to set as you feel it.

Set #1
1/2 squat: 6 reps @ 75% of max, toes pointed straight ahead
rest 1 min
Plank: Maximum hold with good form
rest 2 min

Set #2
1/2 squat: 5 reps @80 reps of max, toes straight
rest 1 min
Hanging leg raise: max reps
rest 2 min

Set #3
1/2 squat: 4 reps @85% of max, toes straight
rest 1 min
Push ups max number
rest 2 min

Set #4
1/2 squat 3 reps @ 90% of max, toes straight
rest 1 min
Plank: Max hold with good form
rest 2 min

Set #5
1/2 squat: 3 reps @ 90% of max , toes straight
rest 1 min
Hanging leg raise; max reps
rest 2 min

Set #6
1/2 squat: 2 reps at 95% of max (if feeling strong)

For Plank;
Good form means no hip sag or lift. Use added resistance in the form of a weight vest if you can exceed 30 second hold

Hanging Leg Raise. Start dead hang position. Select the resistance that allows you to perform at least 2-3 reps.
Easiest to Hardest:
Knees up 1/2 way
Knees to Chest
Straight leg 1/2 way
Straight leg all the way

For Push ups:
If you can’t hold good form from toes then go to knees. Reps done when straight plank position fails. Use weight vest if you can do more than 15 reps with good form

Workout #2: Aerobic Base Zone 2

Planned Time: 1:00:00

All aerobic base work will be on foot since you are training for a foot borne sport you need to be weight bearing. NOT swimming, cycling, rowing as these, while good general exercise, are not weight bearing.

Photo: Griffin Post shredding near Skeena BC, courtesy of Kaestle Ski

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