Your Endurance Determines the Vertical Feet You Accrue Heli-Skiing
The formula for getting the most out of your heli skiing trip is simple: the better condition you’re in, the more times you can get on the helicopter each day. The more times you get on the bird, the more vertical you accumulate.
So, the question is, how do you get in as many laps possible each day and the solution is simple, be in shape. That begs another question: how do you get into good/great heli skiing condition?
Condition Like a Pro Even if You don’t Match Their Intensity
The closest thing to the conditioning of heli skiing is that of downhill racers. No other skiers — professional or recreational — come close to skiing the amount of vertical you will heli skiing in Canada. As a result, the best method for getting ready for Canada heli skiing is to follow the regiment of the U.S. Downhill team.
Plyometrics and Bodyweight Exercises for Heli-Skiing
The U.S. Ski Team is crazy about plyometrics and bodyweight exercises. They are part of the year around regimen. While other exercises are only used for training in the summer and others are only used in conjunction with in-season training, the team does vertical and lateral plyometrics on almost a daily basis (1). The key is knowing which ones will help you the most when you go heli skiing in Canada.
One Leg Squats (Weighted or Unweighted) – According to a Shape Magazine article documenting the workout of Pro Skier Paula Moltzan, the reason one leg squats are so important is because 90% of an athlete’s job is done on one leg or the other. As a result, the U.S. Ski Team puts a high premium on what they call instability training. While not excruciatingly difficult, you’re legs will get a burn. More importantly, you’ll be working on your balance at the same time you’re conditioning your heart.
Squats – Like one leg squats, buso ball squats are another instability training exercise. In addition to working your thighs and buttocks, they also work your core (2).
Burpees – Everyone hates them and everyone has good reason. Burpees suck, but what an incredible bodyweight exercise. Burpees work your thighs, buttocks and core. If you can do 50 burpees in a row, you can heli ski in Canada, anywhere!
Resistance Band Side Steps – As you know, skiing is as much about shifting your weight from one foot to the other as it is keeping your shoulders over your knees and your knees over your feet. Resistance band training is one of the few types of exercise that mimic the resistance your hip flexors deal with as you ski. While the exercise isn’t aerobically tiring, it develops aerobic strength on the lateral sides of your hips.
Jumping Jacks – Yep, they look funny and make you feel like you’re wearing 1980′s NBA shorts, but they’re a great workout and they exercise the lateral sides of your hips. If you ever need to take yourself less seriously, do jumping jacks in the mirror and use perfect form. They’re twice as funny if you’re a girl.
Running, Swimming and Biking
All the strength in the world won’t do you any good heli skiing in Canada if you don’t have endurance. Unfortunately, endurance is earned the hard way. You don’t get to look cool in the gym doing exotic pushes and pulls, but if you have to make a choice, run, swim and bike before you do anything else because those are the exercises that will make your legs last and if your legs last, your money goes farther!
The fact is, nothing gets you in heli-skiing shape like skiing does. Every other exercise you do can help you accentuate your base skiing endurance, but nothing can exactly replicate the movements of skiing except skiing.
Want to go heli-skiing in Canada this season? Call 925-683-7676 or Contact us for free recommendations…
Then get in shape!
Thanks to Ryan Hotchkiss for contributing to this post.