La Nina Pre-Season Route Planning – A primer for going big

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 La Nina, La Smina what is all the hype about? In 1998-99 the NW received 95 feet of snow. To take advantage of epic seasons a few key areas need attention such as Fitness, Gear and Travel Plans.

Fitness encompasses both mental and physical capacity to deal with skiing and touring in a deep snow environment. The physical preparation everyone generally understands, what takes people to the next level is intensity and planning peak performance. Periodization is a system to schedule peaking in a variety of time frames from 6-16 weeks. Great resources that you can follow online or pay for a subscription of coaching are:

Alpine Training Center: Free, Boulder based, mountain specific conditioning programs for climbing and skiing. Originally part of Mountain Athlete, follows a similar philosophy and posts their workouts online that you can get an RSS feed for.

Mountain Athlete: Paid subscription Jackson based gym that was inspired by Mark Twight’s Gym Jones blend of Crossfit meets mountain sports. Rob Shaul stripped away the rhetoric and focused on fundamental strength and conditioning  while blending climbing and skiing specific elements to the periodization cycles.

Gym Jones: Paid subscription, Salt Lake City based gym blending Crossfit intensity with mountain sports fitness focus. Great program that comes with all of Mark Twight’s philosophy, elite intensity and performance is the focus.

Training Mental fitness requires intense physical training with refreshing and building the many skills necessary for back country winter travel. Avalanche safety, travel techniques and planning strategies all need attention to stay safe and succeed on big objectives when the conditions permit. AIARE avalanche courses, route planning and advanced travel techniques all can be learned and reviewed with friends or from guides services and retail stores with free clinics such as REI, Pro Ski Service and Second Ascent in Seattle.

Next week we review gear and travel planning preparation.

Pray for snow!

Matt

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