Home of American XC Skiers

MasterBlast: Transitioning To Snow (October 2015)

Tue, 10/13/2015 - 14:28 -- JD

The following vintage content is a translated and summarized from an original article by retired Norwegian superstar Kristin Størmer Steira originally appearing in Stayer Magazine, Dec 2007. Translation and summary by Inge Scheve exclusively for AXCS membership.

Transitioning from dryland to snow can be a challenge, depending on how much summer skiing, roller skiing and specific training you have done. National team skiers typically have a fair amount of glacier time and tunnel skiing in the tank by the time the snow flies. Accordingly, the transition to snow is less brutal than for those who haven't skied since March.

For people with more traditional lives, it's important to be patient and spend some time readjusting to snow. Both classic and skate skiing requires different muscles than running/biking, and it's easy to get overuse injuries both in upper-body muscles and legs.

Steira's top 3 tips for masters:

1. Make sure you have several hours of easy skiing behind you before doing hard intervals on snow.

2. Do a lot of no-pole skiing to improve balance and technique early in the season and before any intensity work. It's important to get rid of any bad habits from dryland training early on, so you don't continue to drag them into the season.

3. Hard intensity, if doing any of that, can very well be done on foot, either outside or inside on a treadmill. Add bounding poles to increase efficiency and specificity: skiwalking or moosehufing.

Traveling to the snow or staying in town? This is the classic masters' dilemma. There is no right or wrong answer to this one. It's easy to get tired of dryland training, particularly if there is snow in nearby areas. However, I also believe a lot of masters overestimate the importance of getting a lot of snow time before January in order to perform well in mid-season distance races. This is particularly true for those who live close to good dryland training. Most people work during the week, and long trips to get on snow simply eat up your energy more than a few workouts on snow improves your skiing. On the other hand, sometimes a trip to the snow can provide a change of scenery and a break in the daily training schedule that's just the ticket to boost motivation. But make sure these trips add to your training rather than grind on you.