While most consider cross-country skiing to be a winter sport, the summer months are vital to ensure you have a great winter of skiing ahead of you. Summer is the time to lay down a base that gives you the fitness to accomplish your winter ski goals—no matter if that’s winning an Olympic medal, or just getting out a few times on the trails with your friends.
There are a number of cross-training activities that help to increase fitness, agility, balance, and of course, are fun, too! Running, rollerskiing mountain biking, mixed with various strength training exercises and even ski-specific workouts are plenty to get in the best shape for when that snow starts to fly.
Here in Anchorage, I train all summer with my APU Nordic Ski Center teammates. My favorite summer training activities are trail running and rollerskiing. Truly, I think running is the best compliment to cross country skiing. We run in the mountains all over Alaska with workouts ranging from 1-3 hours or even more! Running gives you the fitness that rides over perfectly into your endurance base come ski season.
Simple advice, try heading out to a hilly trail near your house and bring a pair of shorter ski poles. Using the poles, classic “ski-walk” or bound up the hills using as you do in classic skiing, and then run the flats and downhills. This helps keep your ski muscles maintain their form while giving you a great overall workout.
Rollerskiing is also a great tool to improve your technique in the summer months and are totally worth the investment if you want to be a great skier. If you live in the Twin Cities or a place where paved. recreation trails are readily available, training can be easy and fun. If you live in a rural area, just be careful on the open roads and always wear something bright and flashy.
Once you’re comfortable enough on the wheels, treat your rollerskis just like snow skis and try out some faster interval or sprint speed sessions. As someone who is a bit cautious on downhills, especially on pavement, I’d suggest to always check out your route before ripping down a path without a plan. Especially in a bigger city, you never know when there will be a 4-way stop or a missing part of the sidewalk. And make sure to always wear a helmet!
Finally, to keep your body ready for winter skiing, I would suggest doing some strength or weight lifting throughout the summer. As someone who hates working out inside, my favorite way to do strength in the summer is to head to my local playground.
Growing up training with Piotr Bednarski and Loppet Nordic Racing, we always did our strength workouts on the playground and as funny as it sounds, it’s a blast! This is especially helpful if you are a busy parent—bring the kids out to play and use the equipment to do pull-ups, dips, hanging core exercises, you name it, talk about a super-mom or dad at the park!
You can do skate jumps and lunges on the grass, and use a wall to do a wall sit. If you are feeling really motivated, bring out a medicine ball and a friend and crank out a good core workout. Lastly, don’t forget to take a ride down the slide to top-off your workout 😉 The bottom line, the best skiers are made in the summer, so have fun and stay fit!
Written by Rosie Frankowski – Women’s APU Elite Ski Team – Alaska – Shown in feature photo – lead runner – Willawa Lakes in the Chugach State Park – Anchorage, Alaska.