We want to make sure that we make the most of our time in the mountains. Whether that means having enough stamina to fit in extra runs on the piste, or hiking round a peak to a field of untracked powder, preparation is what’s going to get you there.
We use our bodies in different ways in the mountains. From hiking in soft powder, to putting in deep turns on the descent, we use muscles in completely different ways to how we would walking to work or cycling on the weekend. In order to prepare for a two week blast in the mountains, we need to get our bodies used to moving more dynamically. Incorporating yoga into your weekly fitness routine can be a total game-changer here. Opening and strengthening hips can help with wide snowboard stances, while backbends and planks can help to strengthen our core and improve movement in the upper body and back.
It’s one of the fastest ways to improve your fitness and stamina, while simultaneously strengthening those legs. Pick a hill and run laps, sprinting to the top and walking down again. The walk down allows you to rest in between the high intensity blasts uphill. You’ll reap the rewards of hill repeats when you’re faced with putting in a boot-pack to an awesome chute, or hiking the backcountry kicker you just built with your friends.
Yes, getting prepared for the mountains can mean putting in some hard work, but it needn’t take over your life, just a few sessions a week will do, which can even be done at home. Take a look over our pre-season training program with Mark Zadawski from Peak Condition to see how a few simple exercises can get you mountain ready and ahead of the pack.
It goes without saying that the moment you become uncomfortable, things start to go rapidly downhill - and not in a good way. Wetness plays big here and can occur from snow entering your internal layers or from sweat build up. This can be a problem when using low quality base layers that fail to wick moisture away effectively. Performance base layers are incredibly efficient at drawing moisture away from your skin and pushing it away from your body. This removes the risk of chaffing and friction which can lead to sores and make you feel colder quicker.
Layering up efficiently allows you to maintain your core temperature. Our muscles perform better when warm and loose, rather than cold and tight. You’re less likely to have a muscle related injury when you’re warm and will be able to outlast other mountain users who failed to come properly prepared.
Of course, keeping warm is all well and good, but we need to maintain a certain level of flexibility in order to explore full range of movement. This is particularly important when riding in the backcountry or putting laps through the park. Compression technology, which is integrated into our Backcountry Base Layer not only provides you with a second skin fit, but also helps to improve circulation and stave off muscle fatigue.
If you’re serious about your time in the mountains and want to maximise your time riding in them, then this simple list could be the fast way to a better time in the backcountry.
We caught up with Derek Chandler of Marmalade Ski School, one of our official FLOA partners to talk about the diversity of the 3 Valleys and escaping the confines of normal skiing…
The allure of the backcountry promises open terrain without the crowds, but if it’s your first time off-piste, make sure you bear these key tips in mind…