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3 Tips To Level Up Your Skiing In February

Abe Maynard on January 21st, 2022

By now the initial stoke of early season runs mixed with pre-season conditions should be leveling out.  The middle and end of December produced epic snowfall from Steamboat to Mount Baker.  At one point, Lake Tahoe reported so much snow that I actually saw videos of friends taking snow mobiles to get coffee! Now that’s the kind of winter we’ve been waiting for.


At this point, I feel confident that most mountains have a solid base. Hopefully the majority of hidden rocks and annoying shrubbery have since been buried and we can shift our focus purely to charging the slopes without fear of injuries related entirely to early-season conditions. But what does this mean for our skiing? How should we change our approach to new features and on-snow intensity?


To answer these questions we must first answer this question: How consistent have your been on your Ski System training program? The answer is a mandatory prerequisite to forming a strategy for February-April. You see, training on a progressive program produces a more capable individual with a body ready for increased demands and difficulty. For this, training consistency is the single most valuable barometer for how hard you can push it on the slopes.  If you’ve been 100% consistent, haven’t missed a training session, and can feel your body is ready for anything, by all means, send it!  But if you’ve fallen off over the past few weeks due to early season stoke, I highly recommend you build back your strength and conditioning before turning it up on snow, keeping in mind that a prepared body makes a more capable skier.  After all, what’s the training for if not to take your skiing to the next level and maximize on-snow enjoyment.


That being said, let’s take a look at my 3 tips to leveling up your skiing in February:

1. Let it Run

Speed is your friend and like Ricky Bobby said, “I just wanna go fast”.  You’ve been consistent on your training and now is the time to point the tips and experience a little more speed as you charge down the mountain. Speed can be scary, and in some cases risky, but speed is what makes skiing more fun.  The faster you can go, the more enjoyable the sport will be.  You will be Zooming around the mountain taking on features that have previously intimidated you.  And that’s the difference a capable body makes.  A capable body adjusts to conditions quicker, can maintain better edge control, and redistributes force more efficiently than a body with a frail frame and weak muscles.  So as you travel down the mountain at higher speeds, your body should be able to react better to changes in the environment and adjustments to pitch. 


2. Hike The Back Bowl

One of the most valuable aspects of strength and conditioning is exactly that; conditioning.  You’re conditioned through your program to perform more muscle actions with less total fatigue.  You can hike longer, hike higher, and hike more unstable surfaces better than you could the previous season because you’ve been consistent on your training program.  Nobody wants to hike a back bowl with someone who has to take breaks.  Similarly, nobody wants to hike a back bowl with someone whose so tired at the top that they pose a risk to the rest of the group on the way down. 


Back bowls present some of the best inbounds terrain a mountain has to offer. They're reserved for those conditioned enough to get there.  That’s what makes them so great.  If you can hike fast, break less, and click in without needing to catch your breath at the top of the mountain, you’ll get better tracks than the people hiking behind you, chomping at the bit to descend first. I love the feeling of getting to the top of a long hike, simply clicking in, and charging right away. I am confident that anyone reading this, provided you've been consistent on your program, will also reap the benefits of strength and conditioning when that next snow storm dumps.


3. Ski With Better People

There is no greater component to advancing athletic capabilities than being pushed by someone who is more skilled than yourself.  The best defensive basketball players get better by guarding the best shooters, the best boxers improve their skill by sparring with better boxers, and the fastest skiers are trying to keep up with the record holders.  No matter what your discipline, you will improve ten fold by surrounding yourself with people that are better, faster, and more skilled than you.


At this point, assuming programming consistency, you’re almost two months in to the strongest ski season of your life. The best way to level up is to surround yourself with skiers who are better than you. Is there a group of skiers you’ve always wanted to ski with? Ask them to tag along.  Follow someone fast down a run you always ski alone.  Go hike a back bowl with a talented skier who will show you lines you never saw before simply because they seemed outside of your skillset. 


I never improved more than when I tried to follow the fastest skiers down the mogul course. It forced me to go bigger on my airs, faster through the middle section, and develop a sense of control on my landings.  Otherwise I would have continued to ski slow and safe.  Push yourself this February.  Surround yourself with elite skiers and you will improve in a way you never thought possible. 


Be prepared to fail, ready to fall, and trust in your body. If you’ve been consistent on your training program, you’re ready to rip, follow skilled skiers, and hike new features.  If you haven’t, I highly suggest carving out the time, creating the training habit, and putting in the work to set yourself up for an epic March.  Strength and conditioning are the key to unlocking the best skiing you’re capable of. 


Have fun, be safe, respect your fellow skiers, and have an epic weekend!