I'm not the fastest skier in the world, but, given the amount of time I spend waiting for other people, I must not be as slow as I think. Some folks are slow because they are out of shape and on gear that is too big, too heavy, too fat to move fast, and some folks just don't know how to move efficiently. Clearly, these two conditions are not mutually exclusive. In fact, a lot of people are both out of shape and on gear that is too big, too fat, too heavy and inefficient. It is hard to be efficient if you are lugging around 10 or 20 extra pounds on your gut, and another 10 on your feet.
So here are some tips for improving your efficiency if you plan to do real ski tours (one run down Acidophillus is NOT a ski tour):
- Get light weight skis, bindings and boots. Any ski set-up over 3 kg is way too heavy;
- 90 mm underfoot is a fat enough ski to handle anything yet not impede efficiency with extra drag and the inability to skin technical slopes;
- Travel at a pace you can keep up all day, even if you are breaking heavy trail;
- Train when you are not out skiing. Do the Crossfit WOD;
- Carry your map (and compass if necessary) in a pocket. Refer to it often and stay found.
- Plan an efficient route.
- Break your own trail if need be. Following someone else's trail is not efficient if it's not going where you are, or it is overly steep and has many switchbacks;
- Learn to break an efficient trail. An efficient trail gradually but continually gains elevation, travels in the direction you are going, avoids unnecessary turns and, generally, does not include kick turns.
- Limit breaks/stops.
- When stopping, combine activities. For example, have a bite to eat while you put your skins on. Stop to take your skins off where you can see the way down and plan your ski strategy.
- Lose the extra 10 pounds around your gut.
Miles from anywhere after a long, heavy trail-breaking day