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How do people ski all day?

post #1 of 154
Thread Starter 
I used to be able to ski all day...when I was 16. Now, I can ski 2 hours, 3 max.

I'm usually in really good all-around shape: running, biking, basketball, hiking, gym. I don't, however, do a lot of skiing-specific preseason training.

I ski every run -- moguls, steeps, cruisers -- as aggressively as I can -- not necessarily speed-wise, but engaging every muscle and fully committed in each turn.

At the bottom of each run, I'd say I probably feel roughly like I ran a hard 200 meters on the track. I ski mostly midweek so there's not a lot of rest time on liftlines. After the equivalent of 8 to 10 200m repeats, I'm pretty spent.

Do people who ski all day hold back a little on some runs?

I'm thinking the better the skier you are, the less you're able to ski, because you're engaging your muscles more and not just coasting along. Can any other experts or advanced skiers confirm or refute this?
post #2 of 154
Quote:
Originally Posted by moguljunkie
Do people who ski all day hold back a little on some runs?

I'm thinking the better the skier you are, the less you're able to ski...
MJ,

Why do I fear this is a troll...

IMHO you're statement above is bass ackward. The link below might be of interest ...

http://forums.epicski.com/showthread.php?t=28313
post #3 of 154
Thread Starter 
Not a troll. I'd say I'm a level 9.2 skier (out of 10). Raced in high school. Good all-around athlete. Ran track in college. Always in great overall shape.

I do ski more aggressively than 98% of other skiers (at least in NY) . I'm actually really most curious about how other really aggressive, expert skiers feel after a few hours.

When I see a ski racer at the bottom of a slalom or gs run on tv, they're pretty winded. How many runs like that could they do in a day, fully committed, going all out? Though I don't go as fast, I commit entirely to every turn on every run. Oftentimes, I do visualize myself in a slalom or gs race as I'm skiing. And moguls, needless to say, can be fairly exhausting. So, for now, I'm still sticking to my theory.
post #4 of 154
I don't see how this could be possible. The older I get, the more vert I put in because I am skiing more than I used to. I used to have a full time job and only ski the weekends. Now that I am semi-retired, I actually rack up more vertical and have NO problems skiing 7 to 8 hours.

Maybe you should have a physical? I really can't see how doing a run FASTER would require more work than doing it slower. Does running a mile use up more calories than walking a mile? Now, if you are leaping off of cliffs the whole time maybe you are justifiably worn out, but I can't see how doing a groomer at a faster speed would use up more energy. In fact, I am kind of leaning towards it would use up less energy because presumably you are turning fewer times.

As to fully "engaging all your muscles", I don't know how to address that. I actually think that I am less worn out by skiing than people who don't ski a lot because I use the SKI and not my muscles (as much) to turn. While they are horsing their skis around, I am using my speed and pressure to make the ski arc, which is a heck of a lot easier on me than what beginners do.

By the way, is there a "skill level" resource on this site that is pretty standardized? I've usually only seen ski levels as 0-8 or 9 at resorts. Is that a resort-specific thing or is there a standardized description of ski levels out there somewhere?
post #5 of 154
Answering my own question about skill levels, I found this:

Level 1 Aspirations: (You have never skied before; perhaps you only want to try the sport out or you may already be committed to learn it.) Learn about equipment, how to walk and slide with skis parallel, climb using ski edges, turn while standing in place (bullfighter turn), stop and--maybe--learn to turn using the braking wedge (snowplow, skis are in a V with the point in front), fall and get up, and ride a surface or chair lift. Learn basic ski skills: twisting, tilting, and pressure management. (Level 1 is the hardest ski lesson you'll ever take, but you will learn the most; look forward to level 2 for more fun.) Ski on practice slopes.

Level 2 Aspirations: Groove in what was learned in Level 1. Then, by foot steering, learn gliding wedge turns, how to vary turn shapes, ski slightly faster speeds, improve balance, traverse. Ski on steeper parts of practice slopes.

Level 3 Aspirations: Still starting turns in the gliding wedge, now with the feet steer skis to parallel at turn finish, preferably with some skidding; ski a bit faster speeds than in level 2 so that speed that comes with steeper slopes can be managed. Move to easier green (easiest) slopes.

Level 4 Aspirations: Still starting turns in the gliding wedge, with the feet steer skis to parallel in mid-turn; sideslip; do skidded parallel turns to a stop (hockey stop); ski faster speeds. Move to steeper green slopes, longer runs.

Level 5 Aspirations: Still starting turns in the gliding wedge, with the feet steer skis to parallel before mid-turn; optionally begin using ski-pole touches; explore easier blue terrain; experience uneven slopes and easier ungroomed snow conditions; ski still faster speeds and more blue slopes; see the mountain and begin to experience the full pleasures and joys of skiing. Ski steeper green slopes, possibly more difficult parts of green slopes or very easy to easy blue slopes.

Level 6 Aspirations: Stay in the parallel position throughout turns, steering skis with feet to produce turns; begin learning pure edged turns; use ski poles consistently, experience shallower powder and smaller bumps, adjust skiing speed at will regardless of slope angle or snow type, vary turn shape, optionally run gates. Ski blue (more difficult) slopes.

Level 7 Aspirations: Expand skills into powder and bumps and ungroomed snow. Link short-radius turns. Begin to isolate the skills of turning by pivoting the skis versus turning by tilting them, run gates, ski advanced terrain. Ski blue and easier black (most difficult) slopes.

Level 8 Aspirations: Apply variations to turns for effect in varying conditions or for intent, let tilting the ski become the main tool for turning you instead of you twisting the ski with your foot, except in special situations like bumps or quick stops. Explore alternate turn entries--converging, parallel step, diverging, inside ski, one ski. Ski on black slopes and possibly double-black (extreme) slopes.

Level 9 Aspirations: Ski bumps with short or long-radius turns, ski deep powder, ski steeps, run gates; use the carved turn as your principal turning method; get into organized skiing as a racer, race official, instructor, or patrolman. Ski all slopes in all conditions.
post #6 of 154
Quote:
Originally Posted by sibhusky
Maybe you should have a physical? I really can't see how doing a run FASTER would require more work than doing it slower. Does running a mile use up more calories than walking a mile? Now, if you are leaping off of cliffs the whole time maybe you are justifiably worn out, but I can't see how doing a groomer at a faster speed would use up more energy. In fact, I am kind of leaning towards it would use up less energy because presumably you are turning fewer times.
A really big portion of the fatigue in skiing, much like anything, is mental. Skiing on the edge is far more fatiguing because you are on the edge, even if the calories burned are actually less.

You have a point. One of the things that really holds back most advanced skiers is fear of speed....skiing X amount is usually less physical work when done in less time.

As to skiing 7 or 8 hours...why? The only time I ski that long is on powder or backcountry days.

I know of many ways to completely wear yourself out in a couple hours. Buy real slalom race skis. Learn how to use them. Run laps of SL gates for a couple hours. Realize you don't feel like skiing doing it for six more hours.

On skis with lots of shape I can really wear myself out in no time. The workload is huge if you are doing it right.
post #7 of 154
Quote:
Originally Posted by sibhusky
I really can't see how doing a run FASTER would require more work than doing it slower. Does running a mile use up more calories than walking a mile? Now, if you are leaping off of cliffs the whole time maybe you are justifiably worn out, but I can't see how doing a groomer at a faster speed would use up more energy. In fact, I am kind of leaning towards it would use up less energy because presumably you are turning fewer times.
:
Well, I can ski 7/8 hours a day. But not at my faster speed. Of course I need to slow down and shift to 'cruise-control' sometimes in order to make it to end of a full day. And it's getting worse as years goes by... But cruising is also a pleasure to me. I love it both ways : An aggressive run that let my legs burning, or an easy, smooth run where I just let things flows with gravity.
I don't get your point. Running requires more energy than walking. Aggressive skiing put extra-load on your muscles, ask for more dynamic body movements, induce stronger impacts ... Yes, 2 hours at my speed limit and I'm worn out ! But I can cruise all day.

Back on the original question, I not so sure a good skier is necesserely more tired. His (her) 'comfort zone' stops at a higher speed. He's more efficent and can 'let it go' with confidence in more challenging terrain, when a less effiicent skier will be stressed and less smooth. What's really tiresome is to approach one's own limits.
post #8 of 154

Skiing As You Get Older

Hi

I learnt to ski when I was 33 and am 47 now and have no trouble skiing all
day and I don't feel I have got slower with age yet. I find that I ski at my best
when I am soaked in sweat but not out of breath. I do carry a water bottle and
ski mainly on GS skis. It may take 3 days for me to get back the fitness I had
last season. Perhaps you could look at trying out different skis to suit the snow
on the day you are skiing with the new fat skis making it much easier to ski
soft snow and GS skis for hard snow. How good is your boot fit?

all the best
post #9 of 154
Quote:
Originally Posted by philippeR
What's really tiresome is to approach one's own limits.
I think thats the essence of it right there. Technical or athletic, speed or fear, regardles...getting close to the edge of the comfort zone or past it dramatically increases stress and fatigue.
post #10 of 154
Seriously, have your blood sugar checked, you may be hypoglycemic. There is often fatigue associated with hypoglycemia. I know when my sugar is low I tire more quickly and my legs burn, shortening my ski day. It's worth checking out...even if it doesn't end up being your problem.
post #11 of 154
Hey, moguljunkie, skiing bumps has got to be one of the most tiring forms of skiing! Seriously though, I find that I get a bit tired after a few hours hard skiing but seem to get a second wind towards the afternoon. I like to vary my skiing pace a lot during the day based on snow conditions, crowds, how I feel and who I'm skiing with. Sometimes a good hike after lunch to reach some untouched snow is a good refresher - gets my blood oxygenated and provides a chance to quietly scope out new lines.
post #12 of 154
I ski entire day because I enjoy skiing. And the big part of enjoying is some stuff beyond physical activity.

If the point was to use skiing as a workout - 2-3 hours on weekday with slalom skis will do it (as skiingman said). Better yet hiking for each run ;-)

It is like runing 200m vs 10000m - different tactics, different timing, different pit stops.

Cheers.
post #13 of 154
You are getting some good feedback , maybe a physical is in order .

At 62 -i am able to ski 6-7 hrs a day, run after run at GS speed .

Admittedly just after lunch for about 15 minutes or so and then again the last hr of the day we reel it back to cruising speed
post #14 of 154
I'm not looking forward to *having* to ski all day because my number of days will be smaller this year. I'm definitely a hit it and quit it kinda guy.
post #15 of 154
Remember to breathe. Seriously, many skiers in bumps forget to breathe, and consequently, get tired out.

Additionally, good technique will get you further through the day than a skier that attempts to muscle his/her through the turns.
post #16 of 154
Junkie:

Read your profile. You don't ski enough. Use skiing as your training. Get out 3xs a week and ski hard. When you've had enough - keep going.

If you smoke quit!

Run and lift.

I don't last long either. The guys I ski with stay out longer, but I ski harder and in more interesting terrain. I need to do all of the above!
post #17 of 154
Quote:
Originally Posted by paul jones
Junkie:

Read your profile. You don't ski enough. Use skiing as your training. Get out 3xs a week and ski hard. When you've had enough - keep going.

If you smoke quit!

Run and lift.

I don't last long either. The guys I ski with stay out longer, but I ski harder and in more interesting terrain. I need to do all of the above!
Good advice for everyone, Paul Jones!

For me, I try to mix up my trails if I'm going all day. I do know that if you ski hard down a long run, like speeds and turns as if you are running the gates on GS and SL, it's pretty much the equivalent of running that amount of time in a track event. The harder you ski, the less you can do of it.
post #18 of 154
I have two older friends. One is in his 80s and one in his late 70s.

The younger one skis damn near every day the mountain is open. he no longer does bumps, but i practically have to skate downhill to keep up with him. (and i'd be a level 9 according to the above - although i'd never try to claim that anywhere else on this forum ) he has one of those watches that measures vert feet and doesn't feel like he's had a day unless he gets in enough vert. he can ski me off the mountain because he is such an efficient skier and regularly goes buzzer to buzzer.

the older one skis everything with me, bumps, pow, trees, even a little hiking for turns and has no problem skiing all day. we do stop for lunch tho: .

Anyhow, there is joy to be had in all sorts of skiing and you pretty much answered your own question. what's the harm in pacing yourself by skiing a groomer or dialing it back a bit every third run? are you trying to get it all in in half a day?

If you WANT to ski all day and aren't able to, IMO you should take the advice to have a physical. If what you are trying to do is wear yourself our as fast as possible, then don't worry about what others are doing and have fun!
post #19 of 154
In my youth I used to ski in Lech and Zurs with a former coach of the Austrian ski team. I was about 10-14 at the time and a bit of a hell raiser. Anyhoo, this old guy (approx 70) would ski the whole mountain, always using an elegant semi-upright stance, always the same tempo with medium radius turns. He was a supreme master of technique, and although obviously very fit, used technique as the driving force. I'm talking about ice, groomers, off piste, greenslope (that's when the snow starts to run out in April)

My conclusion:

When you're good you tend te wear yourself out on the mountain, when you're great this isn't necessary (I'm still not there yet at 30...)
post #20 of 154
Quote:
Originally Posted by moguljunkie
I ski every run -- moguls, steeps, cruisers -- as aggressively as I can -- not necessarily speed-wise, but engaging every muscle and fully committed in each turn.
Couple of things:

Do you *really* need to engage *every* muscle?

When WC skiers have a great result, (Thomas Grandi's GS wins spring to mind) they say, "I was relaxed and in the zone, every thing just flowed beautifully."

I suggest that a change in mental approach (perhaps finesse over power) will result in a more efficient use of your muscles -- just enough strength being applied to do the job as opposed to "engaging every muscle". When carving, think "ski quietly" -- no sound from the skis.

Having not seen you ski, I wonder how "skeletally stacked" you allow yourself to be? ie. do you rely on muscular support always or allow skeletal support at times?

Do you use alot of counter? If so, you may be using too much, and need to move too far between completion and initiation of each and every turn. have you seen the waist-steering thread? Could help/might not.

The final question is: "Does the hill dictate your technique or do you work harder than is required, and to what end?" From your posts, it sounds like you could make a workout of a walk in the park! Maybe you ski with really high edge angles when really high edge angles are not required. eg. I won't bomb a green run, I'll work on balance or something in slow motion...

FYI - You mention getting race slaloms and learning how to use them: I am in the process of buying new skis, and was considering getting race slaloms, but realized, I just don't want to work that hard!

So finally, as you know, the equipment that you choose to use will also make a huge difference in your energy output. I'm sure you could put in more hours on "easier" equipment.
post #21 of 154
What other activities aren't lasting as long as they used to?
I'd hate to be your significant other! It's time for a physical.

I've had some ski time with people in their 60s and 70s. They may take a longer lunch than they used to, but they go from early morning until about 1/2 hour before the lifts close.

I would check your health first, considering your self assessment on ski ability, it shouldn't be that hard.

I've skied bumps all day, I'm more than 16*2, and not in the best shape of my life.
post #22 of 154
Trade in your high end skis and boots for somethoing more forgiving. Your getting worked...
post #23 of 154
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the great posts! (With the exception of being called a troll:.)

Will look into hypoglycemia at next physical. Past blood test a few years ago was fine. Have been vegetarian for 13 years, vegan for last 8. Don't have same stamina as when I was a teenager, but I've assumed that goes with getting older and not always being in the peak shape that I was for high school and college sports.

Not totally persuaded that altering technique is the solution. I just like going all out. I do it in all sports. When I play pickup basketball, no one wants to cover me, not because I'm good (I'm not), but because I'm always running around, every transition is a fast break. After about an hour of that, I'm exhausted. Everyone else can play another hour. But I don't want to change my game and spot up for 3's; I like cutting to the basket and diving for steals, etc.

Of course, my need to do everything to excess often leads to injury. Right now, I'm healing up from plantar fasciitis from trying to see if I could get in great 5k running shape in three months (the answer was a resounding no).

Yes, BigE, when I'm making gs turns, I do like to get a really high edge angle even though it's not necessary. It's just an amazing feeling when your skis are tilted at such an extreme angle. I feel like I'm racing in the world cup. But I am also feeling it in every muscle of my body.

I think what I really need to do is some of the preseason training we did in high school. Hill repeats, wall sits, etc. On training days at the ski hill, we even had to walk back up the slope with our gear after each run. That got me in great shape.

I'm going to work on core, quads, balance, and run some hills when my foot heals. Not planning to modify technique too much. I'm still at an age (37) where I want to ski like I'm 18. At some point, I may have to ease up a bit. Not sure how much I'll enjoy skiing when I do.

Will still ruminate more on all the other advice. Thanks again.
post #24 of 154
If you're packing it in after two hours when you've paid for a full day lift ticket it's safe to assume you're one sick puppy/troll.
post #25 of 154
Intersesting contrast between BigE and MogulJunkie perspectives. I'm more with BigE here (preseason training ? what's that : ), though I love to think I'm Hermann Maier sometimes... But it's good to see everyone can find his kicks on his own way.
Now, I'm sure it applies also to those 'others activities' bklyntrayc wrote about...
post #26 of 154
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamesj
If you're packing it in after two hours when you've paid for a full day lift ticket it's safe to assume you're one sick puppy/troll.
Mostly in past skied local discount days. This year have midweek pass to Hunter.

But I am concerned about planned trips to Vermont and Utah. Believe me, I'm not keen on the idea of spending 60 or 70 bucks for a few hours of skiing. I think Alta has a morning ticket, but it's only like $5 less than full-day. I remember one trip about 7 years ago, I was up in New Hampshire at either Attitash or Loon, and they had this setup where you could pay for each run. I don't think they still have it. Probably not profitable for them, but was great for me.
post #27 of 154
I firmly believe that skiers at the extreme ends of the skill spectrum use more energy than those in the middle. Beginners use up a ton of energy just trying to stay upright, clenching teeth, gripping with their toes, puckering sphincters, etc… This is all very inefficient use of power/strength, but they use it nonetheless.

As a skier becomes more skilled they become more efficient and therefore use less energy, which means they can last longer. They may not be in better shape, or their endurance may not be any better than before – they’re just using less energy.

At the other end of the spectrum very skilled skiers use the most energy – more focused use of energy too. As the skill increases the speed increases, the hills get steeper, air gets bigger, turns get harder, etc. This all amounts to more work, which means you expend more energy.

If I’m in race/power mode I can only get in about 3 hours of quality time in before I’m toast. At that point I can either quit (rest), or I can free-ski using much less power and more efficiency (quasi-rest).

When I’m free skiing I don’t use quite as much power on every turn as I would in the gates so I can last longer. Again, my endurance isn't any better I’m just using my energy more efficiently.

Fitness is important, but it’s not the only part of the equation for endurance on the hill. I have to agree with those that say it’s not possible to ski “on the edge” all day. I can’t do it either, and I’m fairly focused on ski fitness (ride 5000 miles a year, lift weights from October through March, and on snow 3 days a week throughout the winter).
post #28 of 154
I am particularly amused by the 62 and 70 year olds who think they ski hard all day. I guess hard is relative, huh?

For the record, those who can ski all day certainly do not go all out on every run. "All out" does not necessarily mean speed. Slalom and bumps can kill you very quickly - if you go all out.

On the other hand, moguljunkie, you should do some pre-season training. Your story of trying to run 5K does not sound too good (unless you were trying to run a sub-20 minute 5K). And as you get older, you may need to tone it down a little. High intensity activity (and now I mean high intensity, not the cruising stuff most people call hard skiing) does not look kindly upon older people. I am 43 and I had to learn the hard way too.
post #29 of 154
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by TomB
unless you were trying to run a sub-20 minute 5K
I hate to say it, but I was actually shooting for sub-18. Will try again next spring. Just need to ramp up the miles more gradually:
post #30 of 154
Thread Starter 
I do want to amend my original theory. I don't think better skiers get tired more easily. More aggressive skiers do. I kind of assumed that better skiers are more aggressive. But there are surely lots of experts who ski with grace and finesse and don't get as tired as those who charge down the mountain.

So, I hope I didn't offend anyone. Too much.
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