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60 days in a row or spread out over a season?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

After many years away from skiing, I started again last season.  Last season I skied 20 days and had 5 lessons (group lessons that turned into privates due to being on less busy weekdays)  I plan to ski about 20 days this season with 5 or so lessons.  With the exception of the fist lesson last season, the lessons I have been in were classified as "Intermediate" by the ski schools.  I ski most of my days at Sundance but also like Brighton and Alta. 


I'm interested in becoming a better skier and being able to ski more of the mountain but am concerned that at 20 days a season, I may be close to a plateau due to limited time on the snow.  I've got a lot of vacation time at work and next season considered trying to up my days to 60 ski days.  Do the instructors here think 60 days over 2 months is better, worse or the same as 60 days over 4 or 5 months as far as learning is concerned?

post #2 of 7

Did you see this thread?  Your dilemma makes an interesting scenario. 


First of all, 60 days on the snow in one seasons will completely transform your skiing unless you're completely inept.  That said, 60 days in a row is a lot for a non-athlete/pro.  Nobody does that with any intensity, it's a burnout.  I'd get some help to put together a serious, structured training program.  You can only advance as far as your conditioning allows, so conditioning will play a major role, especially at the beginning of the season. 


Something in the middle is probably best.  I've seen few recreational skiers that could push hard for more than 4 days in a row, then a rest day follows.  By "hard" I mean burning, say 25k of vert per day on skiing well challenging terrain, not just blasting down blues to accumulate feet on your altimeter.    If you really want to get better you should be skiing hard and outside your usual comfort zone.  If it were me I'd think about raging for 2 or 3 days in a row followed by a rest day.  After a few weeks of that maybe 4 days full on / 2 days off.  You need the recovery to keep getting stronger.  Eventually you'll max out and maybe won't need the breaks as much.   I leave it for somebody that actually knows what they're talking about to suggest what such a program might be.


FWIW, don't be tempted to wait for powder days.  Pow is nice, but it's easy to ski when you get it dialed - and that doesn't take long if you're ready for it.  It's kind of binary.  Either you can or you can't.  At some particular moment the light bulb goes off and all of a sudden you can.  At that point it's not going to challenge you any more, you'll just crave it cause it feels so damn good.  Bumps, wind crust, crud, bumps in trees etc. take more mettle.

post #3 of 7
Here is some heresy.

Take fewer lessons, and practice what you have learned. See if you can get a lot of video of yourself (making fewer - that is, longer - turns and more stiffly than you were hoping. Oh wait, that's me wink.gif ).

I am totally inferring here, so forgive any overreach, but it is hard for men to gain comfort with speed and then to spend a lot of time slowing down with short linked turns, which require far more technique and agility, and the lack of which blow up in tight or steep places.

20 days is pretty good. Obviously 60 would be amazing, but (and I speak for myself here), spending as much of 20 days practicing expert technique on more beginner terrain as you can stomach (giving up maching around the blue streak of the trail map), the sooner to break the terrain plateau. I think a long season is better than a packed one if one has to choose, unless you are really specific with goals over x period of time and as pointed out will condition to match. It stays in your head that way, add in a MTB summer and fall and you will pick up right where you left off.
post #4 of 7

Two weeks in a row is insane. I once skied hard 28 days in a row on a vacation (what is worse than insane?). By the fourth week, there were little bruises in the strangest spots that just weren't healing. No way I could have lasted 60. There are some full time pros that do 60+ in a row, but that is working vs skiing hard every day from open to close. I once met an 80+ yo man at Keystone who said he skied every day of the season ... for an hour a day. The rule for the staff at our mountain is one day off snow per week. Your vertical may vary, but my vote is for 60 days over 4 or 5 months. Plan on spending some serious time in the gym getting ready before the long season.

post #5 of 7
Same vote. You need recovery time.
post #6 of 7

I'm sure I'll get flamed for this but, IMO, the fastest way to improve is to have an intense technical focus on every run and to spend 50+% on very modestly angled terrain pushing that focus to the maximum. When you find yourself getting sloppy, stop, regroup and start again. When you are too tired to do the above, quit for the day. Spend the hour(s) before you fall asleep reliving what you are trying to do in your mind, feeling the sensations, imagining yourself really laying them over (or whatever you are working on). Go back the next day and repeat - your performance will skyrocket over a season. I don't think there's a limit to how many successive days you can ski - I have missed one since the season started on Nov 23, because it was so windy most of the lifts weren't running.


Obviously this schedule isn't possible for most people, but try to get as many days in a row as you can - doesn't have to be all day.

post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all the replies and advice.  At 60 straight days I wouldn't be able to do first to last chair.  Recovery time makes sense.  My other hobby is strength training so I definitely understand that I couldn't go at maximum intensity day after day on squats, deadlifts and presses.  The appeal of the 60 day block is that it's easier from a work perspective.  Taking a couple of days off each week through the whole season takes a little more discipline because it's easier to get sucked into stuff at work and skip a planned ski day compared to just "checking out" for a block of time.


I'll get my 20 days (hopefully a couple more) this season and look forward to my goal of 60 spread out across all of next season. One day when I retire I'll do like HardDaysNight and try to be out there every day for a season.       

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