Don't Be Left Behind – Get Fit for Winter
Dave Norona | On 26, Sep 2018
Winter is just around the corner. Whether you have been working all summer to earn some playtime, or just sitting in the wakesurf boat swilling beers, it’s time to pony up and get fit for winter!
There are lots of great gym workouts for sledders out there. But since I prefer to be outside in the backcountry, we are going to skip the indoor chamber of doom and talk about some exciting ways to gain fitness and have loads of fun while doing it!
There are two things sledders need to make their day on the hill effortless: fitness and strength. These can be achieved by aerobic (easy effort) workouts, which build efficiency and technique, and anaerobic (hard effort) workouts, which build strength and stamina.
Depending on how much time you have per week, try to do three to four workouts of 1-1.5 hours in duration. Two to three of these should be easy, and one hard.
Don’t add more than 10% of time or intensity per week or you’re just asking for an injury or sickness. Remember, you are training to be strong, not trying to weaken your immune system. At worst, overtraining could cause you sit out the beginning of the winter with an injury. Less is more in this case.
Don’t Be Left Behind – Get Fit for Winter
Sledders love motors, speed and excitement. Dirt biking is one of the most fun ways to stay fit for the winter season. Whether it’s on the track or in the trails, riding a dirt bike has been proven to use all the muscles in your body and push your cardio.
Getting out with your buddies is the best way to stay consistent with your training when the dark, rainy season arrives. Even an hour or two a week will keep you sharp and fired up for when the white gold falls.
It might not be full on adrenalin, but hiking is one of the best ways to get fit. It is also a sport that you can do with your family—especially your kids! I hike everyday with my daughter, and it has been the most rewarding time of being a parent.
You can choose simple hikes for those easy workouts, and as you get fitter consider wearing your avy pack and add 1one piece of gear to it each week as you get stronger. Again, huge gains are made by going easy; being able to hold a conversation is a way to know you’re doing it right. This also allows you to recover from the hard workout you did on the dirt bike or trials bike!
Trials Moto (Anaerobic)
Personally, I think one of the sports that most closely mimics sledding is trials riding. A trials moto is 70 kg (150 lb), does not have a seat and with 6 psi in the front tire and 2 psi in the rear, it allows you to climb steep trails that you never thought possible.
It requires excellent balance, precision and efficiency. Most importantly, riding trials requires you to look up way ahead and plan your next move, even when it all goes wrong. Sound familiar? That is sledding in a nutshell!
Many guys think this is for the older set—after years of dirt bike injuries have set in—but nothing could be further from the truth. All the top enduro riders on the planet have an extensive trials background, and by swinging a leg over a trials bike, you too are on your way to shredding!
E-bikes (Both Aerobic and Anaerobic)
Younger and newer riders often spend a lot of time on mountain bikes or road bikes during the summer. However, some of the bigger, older guys wouldn’t ride a bike if you paid them. Well, e-bikes have changed everything!
E-bikes have a 250 watt pedal-assist motor built into the bike. You can choose between three to five modes, from ‘Eco’ to ‘Boost’ to aid you in acceleration and climbing hills.
I just rode 3000 km this summer on my e-mountain bike in Squamish and Whistler. It is one of the most fun and easy ways to get fit. You can push harder, climb steeper or take an easier recovery day approach by tuning the bike to the terrain and the workout you need. Try an e-bike and you will instantly want to ride more. You’ll have that smile as you accelerate, which is what we all aim for come winter!
Dave Norona has been a professional adventure athlete for 28 years, and rides for the Ski-Doo Backcountry Team. You can follow his adventures @Dave Norona