Big-mountain freeskier Jessica Sobolowski thrives in monster terrain. In 2005, she became the first woman to ski Pontoon Peak, in Alaska’s Chugach Mountains, and last spring she started guiding for Points North Heli-Skiing, which she co-owns with her husband, Kevin Quinn. But for all of her focus, the recovering endurance addict has issues when it comes to the gym. “The outdoors is my gym,” says the multi-sport athlete and adventure racer.
Sobolowski’s not alone. Her neighbors, Olympian turned skiercross pro Daron Rahlves and Matchstick Productions regular Ingrid Backstrom, spend the majority of their training hours hammering singletrack and trail running around Squaw Valley. But they know cardio workouts alone won’t build the strength and power demanded by 5,000-foot lines and full-body-contact ski racing. What the neighbors need is an outdoor interval circuit like the one in Rahlves’s backyard. The entire workout takes just 20 minutes, leaving time for an hourlong ride or run. Follow it, and you’ll be ready for Squaw classics like Broken Arrow and Headwall before winter solstice.
For each of these exercises, start with 30 seconds on, 30 seconds off before continuing to the next station. Do three circuits (18 exercises total). As you get stronger, increase the work time to 60 seconds on, 45 seconds off. Emphasize quickness: “These are intense movements that focus on agility and speed,” says Sobolowski. And do them with buddies—not only can they watch the time, they can spew insults when your quads and lungs are on fire.
*This article was originally published in the October 2007 issue of Skiing*