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High airfares -> new standards of ski-ready fitness?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Let's say there's a significant flying pattern change and two continuous weeks of skiing becomes the norm instead of 3-4 days over a long weekend or 5-6 days over a week. So 10-11 days to 13 days' skiing.

What sort of fitness would it take to do that?

Are there reasonable fitness minimums one could devise?
post #2 of 9
My guess would be the opposite.

In my experience, the biggest fitness issue is altitude acclimatization, then the "day two/day three soreness". After a week, you've more or less hit your level. I don't think that sustaining effort for a longer period is as difficult as those first few days.

Of course, it depends on the individual and how s/he skis.
post #3 of 9
I'd say riding a skate or blades a few miles to and from work each day would do it

Actually, pretty interesting question. I try to stay quite fit for ski season as twenty to forty days in a row has been my SOP for years. I never thought that if I was only going for three to six days at a time I could get away with a lower fitness level.
post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bumpfreaq View Post
Actually, pretty interesting question. I try to stay quite fit for ski season as twenty to forty days in a row has been my SOP for years. I never thought that if I was only going for three to six days at a time I could get away with a lower fitness level.
Regular posters here are probably exceptions, but consider:

- Most rec skiers will get better over the week as finesse takes over where muscle used to do. That muscle fatigue lingers though. Say one skis M-F, the best day is quite possibly W, with Th being pleas for a "day off". Two weeks' skiing is probably much for these folks to even commit to, and resort visits might be based on side attractions.

- Fatigue accumulates at top performance by anyone. 2 weeks skiing therefore implies fewer days at top level. The reason a lot of do this sport is the joy of performing at our own top levels, so it is in our interest to have giant fatigue reservoirs and to recover quickly, in addition to being efficient on skis.
post #5 of 9
I think it also depends on if your skiing all day or just a few morning hours when snow is usually pristine and the lift line wait is reduced. 3 days on and one day off if you're skiing from opening to last chair I think is a safe plan.
post #6 of 9
I was thinking of the things that wear you out when skiing and I came up with five main ones.

1. Climbing
2. Skiing fast using racing techniques to turn
3. Skiing bumps with compression
4. Skiing with bad posture
5. Falling

It seems to me that the average recreational skier doesn't do much of 1-3, more 4-5, which leaves me with the thought that the main source of fitness problems is soreness in rarely used muscles rather than sheer fatigue and that (if the skier hasn't managed to strain or pull the muscle completely!) should get better in the second week.
post #7 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by comprex View Post
Let's say there's a significant flying pattern change and two continuous weeks of skiing becomes the norm instead of 3-4 days over a long weekend or 5-6 days over a week. So 10-11 days to 13 days' skiing.

What sort of fitness would it take to do that?

Are there reasonable fitness minimums one could devise?
I agree that preseason fitness does matter more on longer trips than on shorter trips. Fatigue becomes a problem on day 3 and 4 for me. I'm planning fewer (3 or 4), but longer (6 to 9) day trips next season.

I'm determined to exercise 3 hours every Monday, Wednesday & Friday. Bike commuting 40 miles each day is my first option, but if that’s not available, I'm still going to rollerblade or be at a fitness center those days.

Find an activity that you enjoy and pursue it 9 hours a week!

Michael
post #8 of 9
Being European and skiing over there, most of our trips are 2 weeks with 12 days on snow.

My wife likes to have a rest/spa day; I ski every day, usually from open (+ <1hr) to lift close (- <1hr)

Neither of us are especially fit or talented - level 4-ish + 6-ish I think.

The last couple of days I tend to notice feeling a bit tired - but usually I'm skiing harder and better by then anyway!

I think day-to-day endurance is easy if you can manage several hours of limited stops skiing.

Of course it may be different for people who do a run and then have a rest and a coffee... and for superstars...
post #9 of 9
My vacation record is 28 days straight. I've also done several 2-3 week trips where I've either skied every day or only had down days for travel between resorts. For a few trips I cheated by skiing one day and riding the next. My normal routine to prep for these trips was a 12 week program of 3-4 workouts per week mixing strength and cardio, plus fun stuff 1-2 times/week totaling 12-15 hours.

I'd be leery of any minimum level of fitness (e.g. run x minutes per mile, lift x% of body weight, have x% body fat). There are too many resort specific factors (e.g. altitude, slope pitch, snow quality) and individual differences (e.g. personal tolerances, skiing styles, attitudes, goals) for a specific guideline to apply.

It's also been my observation that the average skier needs a day off every 4 days. My suspicion is that such skiers would either maintain that pace over a longer trip or vary the intensity of their skiing or include some half days. Very few "average" skiers are going to spend the time necessary to get fit enough to go full bore for 2 weeks.

It's been my experience that most mountains out West have the capability to suck the life out of anyone. No matter what your skill level or fitness level is you can set the timing and intensity of your skiing to create excessive fatigue. More advanced skiers have more options to conserve energy without getting bored but they also have more options to burn more energy than lesser skilled skiers (typically getting more of a total body workout versus one particular worn out body part). For example, an intermediate skier is much more likely to get sore quads and need a break day than an advanced skier. And no matter how much that intermediate skier works out in the gym, the mountain is going to burn their quads before 2 weeks is up. For the average recreational skier, a one hour lesson is worth at least 10 hours in the gym.

For those of us serious skiers who previously would take 2-3 one week trips per year and are now considering combining them to reduce airfare overhead, a slight increase in pre-trip conditioning, combined with smart opening trip acclimatization and healthy during trip behaviors (moderate alcohol consumption, plenty of sleep, proper hydration and diet management) combined with reasonable daily choices of intensity and length of day (e.g. not skipping lunch and doing mogul laps from first to last chair) will allow for a successful trip without having to "waste" days off slope.
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