Train Like a Pro
For professional skiers, staying on top of the game is always a twelve month project. Skiing powder, high-speed lines, and stomping cliffs, whether for the cameras or just for fun, requires year rounf physical strength and conditioning both mentally and physically.
We asked a few stars from this year’s film about some of their most indispensible workouts for this summer. However, it’s not all your standard leg press or sandbag workouts: today’s athletes are open to a surprising array of ways to stay in peak physical form. Here, five top-level skiers give us a look into some surprising moves that keep them at their best through the summer months and even throughout the ski season.
JT HOLMES, professional skier, ski-BASE jumper, speed flyer
In the summer, I ride my bicycles, mountain bike, road bike, and my cruiser. I also hike my brains out seeking airtime in the mountains, for speed flying and BASE jumping. But before I do that, I stretch.
If I have only a little bit of time to stretch, I do pigeon pose [from yoga]: I do three to five-minute pigeon on each side, right leg and then left. And then I am ready to abuse my body all day long!
MILES SMART, IFMGA/UIAGM and AMGA mountain guide and heliski guide
I don't do any gym training, but for training in the off-season, I do a lot of cycling. I usually try to go on three or four big road rides a week, which can run about 60 to 120 miles, with 6,500 to 9,500 feet of climbing. This type of riding is really easy to find in the Alps where I live.
Another thing I've found to be helpful is stretching. I'm not into yoga, but the "downward dog" is a great stretch for tight hamstrings.
INGRID BACKSTROM, professional skier
The one move that always seems to be in all of my dryland training workouts is the split lunge jump: you jump up and land in a lunge with one leg forward, knee at 90 degrees over your foot, and the back leg bends down so your back knee almost touches the floor. From here, jump up and switch legs all in one motion so the other one is now forward.
I try to jump quickly but not so fast that I'm losing form--it should be a controlled movement, using the upward jump for power and the down for squeezing and control. The main thing is to keep the core engaged, back straight, and really use those glutes. I incorporate this into other workouts but generally try to do three sets of a minute each total. It never fails to make me sore!
For upper body (shoulders and core) I like the twisting side plank. Lay on your side and then push up to a partial plank on one elbow, with your entire body in a straight line (no sagging hips!), and feet stacked on top of each other with the top arm extended straight up in the air. Keeping your whole body still and core engaged, slowly reach down with the top arm, rotating down with your body simultaneously and reach the top arm all the way under your body towards whatever is behind you.
Your hips should stay facing forward the whole time and you should only be rotating from your trunk, it's sort of a squeezing and wringing out motion while keeping the plank. This is good for your upper back, shoulders, and core. I try to do a few sets of twelve on each side--it seems easy but it sneaks up on you after several if you are doing them properly--slow and controlled.
HEATHER PAUL, professional skier, globetrotter, and runner
My favorite thing to do in addition to trail running at least 4-5 times a week is to add a little spice to those runs...I add intervals to make me stronger and more fit cardiovascular-wise. This is a great way to make you stronger. I usually do it with friends. I pick out a landmark...like a tree up ahead in the distance, sprint to that tree at 110 percent and then walk for 30-50 seconds. Then I lunge to the next landmark, or walk, sprint, lunge, do butt kicks, or high knees. I basically like to do a few different things to keep it interesting, mostly full speed, ass-kicking sprints!
Another great one I do all the time is a side plank with hip dips (25 each side) everyday. This helps you strengthen your core, which is amazing for staying injury-free and resilient.
CHRIS ANTHONY, professional skier and non-profit director
Over the years I have changed my workout a bit based on the recovery time and injuries I’m dealing with. What I have found the best is high intensity, low impact programs, while always switching it up so the body does not get in a routine. I also try to stay off the hard surfaces [such as pavement].
Most of this has been through a combination of classes, which are mostly dominated by women who make me feel weak, including barre ballet classes. I know what you are thinking but they are great for tuning in the small balance muscles, which are often ignored.
I get outside and speed hike whenever I can. I have several hikes that between 25 - 35 minutes and almost straight up.
My other go-to is biking, both road and mountain biking. I dig hills and speed as they both cause pain and fun. Lately, I have been spending time in Italy biking through the Julian Alps. People are more than welcome to join me on one of my trips.