Power training of the four ski mountaineering races, week 1: game on.

Writer and former Ski magazine Editor-in-Chief Sam Bass competes in the Audi Power of Four Ski Mountaineering Race in Aspen, Colorado on February 25. He will document the next seven weeks of training here in weekly articles.

I’m writing this on the morning bus to work, which means I’m probably not using my commute the way I should. Time is running out – I shouldn’t be sitting on my ass. I should run to go to work or to cycle.

Over the next seven weeks, I will document my preparation for the Audi Power of Four ski mountaineering race, an endurance ski race in Aspen, Colorado. It’s a deadly endeavor that requires climbing (no chairlifts!) To the heights of the Rockies.

I’ve done this race once without proper preparation and it was, well, really tough. To redeem myself this time around, I plan to dive into a fitness class by February 25. I start with a decent aerobic base (through a lunch-run ritual three times a week) and work with trainer Connie Sciolino, owner and head trainer at The Alpine Training Center in my hometown of Boulder, Colorado. Since my work schedule does not allow for gym workouts, I will be doing a modified version of Sciolino’s skimo distance training program.

So why do I submit to this? Two reasons.

First, I’m obsessed with trying to stay in shape for the long haul. I’m a daring 41 year old married man with two kids in college and a job that involves a two hour commute every day. After nearly drowning in a whitewater kayaking accident in 2004, and then in 2008, fracturing my spine and sustaining a brain injury in a skiing accident, I realized I had to adopt strategies. of well-being that would help me to be present and effective for the people who depend on it. on me.

But I want – no, I need – to enjoy the trip, which brings me to the second reason. For me, the intersection of fun and fitness is human powered skiing. Go up, down on skis. A satisfying, low impact, full body outdoor workout on the way up, followed by the thrill of the downhill on skis. It goes by many names – skinning, climbing, alpine touring or AT, ski mountaineering or skimo, backcountry and ski touring. No matter what you call it, I can’t imagine an aerobic pursuit that can beat her in terms of the combination of fitness and fun.

The logistics I mentioned – a regular worker with kids, a job, a commute, a mortgage – will make it difficult for me to find the time to train, especially since I live in a place that does not have regular snow. I live in Colorado, yes, but Boulder is mostly in the high plains, and I don’t have time for regular trips to the Rockies where the snow sticks all winter. I’m going to have to be creative with my time and my training.

I planned a few tricks including biking or e-bike my 35 mile journeys, possibly fitting tire Nordic roller skis with alpine touring bindings so I could ride snow free on roads and trails near my house, setting up a ski-erg machine on my porch, occasionally escaping for early morning skinning sessions at the nearest ski area, Eldora Mountain Resort. I will keep track of my training data using my SUUNTO watch and my Movescount profile.

The Power of Four is done in pairs, and my partner is my friend Eric Henderson, a former great mountain heli-skiing guide in Alaska. He and I trained and competed in the 40 mile Elk Mountains Grand Traverse together a few years ago and the race went well. We’re aiming for a similar experience in this year’s Power of Four. Of course, we don’t expect to win, far from it. Our goal is to finish in eight hours (as a prospect, the 2016 winners scored at 4:40 – an incredibly fast time), feel strong in the race and recover quickly.

As of this writing, I’ve been on Coach Sciolino’s schedule for three days, aching as hell and stumbling in a way that reminds me of high school football preseason double sessions. But if I stick to his plan and proactively manage the balance between family, work, and fitness, I know I’ll find something that comes close to being successful.

I invite you to follow our preparation and take the training lessons that we will learn to apply to your own challenge. Come back here or follow me on Twitter and Men’s diaryon Instagram, discussing our training tactics, equipment and locations. Don’t hesitate to ask questions, make fun of us, tell us that we are incredibly beautiful and ambitious, or just shout words of encouragement. We will need it.

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