Originally Posted by josseph
Last summer I biked exclusively as my exercise. Put over 6000km in the saddle. I was chargrined at how klutzy I became in the moguls. Slow feet, no balance, etc. This summer I drastically curtailed my cycling, and I started playing soccer once a week, and tennis another once per week. Though I am nowhere in the same aerobic shape I was in last summer, I am feeling much more agile... and unbelievably, better overall sense of fitness.
Would that I had spent less time cycling in summers past and more time on strengthening my core and improving balance with stuff like Pilates, agility drills, and plyometrics. Cycling is great for my aerobic fitness and has helped me almost keep up on backcountry skin slogs with hardcore younger skiers (I'm 52), but the bumps are something else.
My experience has been that once I reached a certain level of technical competence, the dominant factor, by far, in determining whether I would feel like I had become a better skier over the course of the season was core strength. It didn't/doesn't matter whether that strength comes as a result of skiing every day or as a result of a pre-season ski-specific exercise program (but in those years when I don't have the time or money for a season pass, it's a no-brainer).
And it more than just being
stronger. It's also the knowledge and the confidence that I gain from knowing that I am prepared.
Progress in skiing, for me, is like following one of those small rivers that disappear temporarily underground now and then, only to resurface a little later downstream. It's a lot easier for me to locate the next stretch of running water -- that sustaining peak experience, even if it's just one joyous run -- when I know that I'm prepared to enjoy it.