Honestly you're confusing many areas of training philosophy, basic physiology and understanding of metabolic energy production....
Given the above quote I think some time with a basic physiology text book would help you understand what I've tried to explain a lot better! Maxing out your "anaerobic threshold" (singular) is not the goal of anaerobic training, all anaerobic glycolytic training (what you are talking about I think as opposed to training the anaerobic PCr system) should happen above your Anaerobic Threshold, the ANT is an simple the point where gylcosis is not meet totally by mitochondrial respiration and blood lactate levels rise to 4mmol or more. If as you say "you've never seen 1% of your athletes max out their anaerobic threshold" then you've never trained anaerobically and a re contradicting yourself!?
Your talk of ceilings is odd and the idea that either of the anaerobic systems can be trained more then aerobic system is just total incorrect and goes against decades of science and above all else simple common sense, there are far more pathways, steps and factors involved and that can be improved in via a variety of training means. ...[snip]
An alpine ski racer does not need the aerobic fitness of a professional road cyclist, but they are not either a shot-putter! Would Erik Guay have the aerobic capabilities of Tom Boonen, nope! does he need them nope, does he need more then a hammer thrower, absolutely! Is a recreational skier skiing the same equipment, speed and limited runs like Erik Guay....no!
Meet the demands of the sport, recreational skiing is not racing and 1min GS multiple this a day does require aerobic conditioning. How much and how you achieve is easy to understand with a good understanding of physiology....
Because some posters in this thread seem to be confused over some basic terms, I thought among other things linking to the Wiki on lactate threshold or LT, also called anaerobic threshold, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lactate_threshold , could be helpful. There are in truth a few different LTs, but the wiki is a helpful simplification. Reading this should help some people understand what Condition is saying, though I believe Condition laid it out very well himself.
Likewise, at least a couple posters seem to have fallen into a couple levels of false dichotomy in thinking that, if in the performance of a sport, an athlete goes well above LT, that therefore the sport is not "aerobic" and, consequently, anaerobic training should be predominant and that significant commitment to "aerobic" training is "wrong" and that, as iriponsnow suggests, skiers should perform "limited aerobic conditioning." To show how this falls apart, consider the 5k in track. It is a race that takes a good high school kid 15 minutes or more to complete, and is over 3 miles long. So, clearly aerobic, and under the false aerobic/anaerobic dichotomy, anaerobic training should be minimized and solely long slow distance used for training, right? Well, in fact 5k are raced well above LT, and no one uses only long slow distance work for 5k runners. H.I.I.T. zealots use the LSD straw man, but it's only a straw man. So, clearly anaerobic, and 5k runners should emphasize weights and intense intervals, and avoid any low intensity training? No, again very wrong, and a recipe for injury and burnout, not to mention sucky times. I was watching taped biathlon last night; they were way above LT, so again, aerobic training should be de-emphasized? No.
As for VO2 max, some people seem to be confusing VO2 max with aerobic training and aerobic fitness. Even in track, VO2 max is a number, but not one treated as pre-eminent anymore for clean athletes because by itself it has little predictive value as to either current performance or future potential. Many people also don't realize that VO2 max doesn't increase that much through training, and in highly trained clean athletes is difficult to improve at all without sacrificing other elements such as maximal strength. So, what the VO2 max of a limited group of Canadian athletes was over 30 years ago has in essence zero relevance to whether developing and maintaining good aerobic fitness is a critical element of modern alpine skiing programs (it is) and also an important element of fitness for recreational skiers, who ski more runs less intensely than alpine athletes. So, while in general I respect and appreciate the contribution of www.bodybuilding.com to the body of research on ski fitness, in this case I respectfully dissent from the view that a 1981 study should override the more recent research and experience of, for instance, coaches and trainers on the U.S. and Austrian ski teams.
Nor does the length of the event itself control the importance of various energy systems. Again, addressed by Neumayr among others.
What does it all mean? Well, if your kid is racing, don't worry that his or her race program is focusing on developing aerobic base and overall physical literacy until very far into their career. That is best practice. If you are a racer reading this, it would be better to be on a stationary bike while reading. :) If you are a recreational skier looking to get in shape for a ski week, aerobic fitness and anaerobic fitness will both be important parts of your ski prep. Because adaptations to aerobic energy systems do take several weeks to occur, and likewise because aerobic adaptations can be lost fairly quickly, maintaining good aerobic fitness throughout the ski system is advisable if you want to actually be able to use that fitness. The good news is that, because recreational skiing does place significant demands on aerobic systems, that a day of skiing can itself be scored as a training day in monitoring that fitness.
Am I reading this right? Are you saying that they should not be working on those until they are already well developed human beings? :O
Not true, if anything it poses little aerobic demands. You are cruising down the mountain pulled by gravity... for 2-5 minutes... than sit in line for 1-2 minutes, than take a chair ride for another 2-3 minutes... So much aerobic activity going on. People get tired because of strength deficiencies, and improper technique, not because of the aerobic workload.
IN racing on the other hand you are constantly working to contrast and generate huge forces, just like you do in the weight room. are you saying that a weight room workout is mainly aerobic as well?