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  Aspen Ski Cho Oyu / Everest 2007: Training for high altitude skiing


April 4, 2007  Training for high altitude skiing:

Often, one of the more common questions I get is how do you train for your ski expeditions.  My quick quip response is ski every chance I get. 

When you venture into the thin air above 7,000 meters, skiing has to be second nature.  We are blessed to have grown up in Aspen where skiing is a way of life for us.  The local mountains are literally our back yard, and before work, it is possible to climb to over 13,000 feet and then ski back down in a few of hours; we do this a couple days per week in the months right before a big trip. So that type of workout is really huge.  It is also very fun, so while it is the best possible training, the fun factor is what drives us to get out a couple times a week as part of the routine.

The Aspen Club and Spa located here in Aspen is also a huge part of the training.  This world class facility has state of the art training facilities that allow for weight training, endurance training machines for the essential speed workouts that happen at least once per week.  Beyond the necessary weight lifting which we do a couple days per week, we incorporate the “19 minute workout” routine.  It’s very simple; get on an elliptical climber or spinner bike.  Warm up for 5 minutes.  On minute five, go for 30 seconds as hard as you possibly can.  Rest for 90 seconds, and repeat the 30 second interval.  Do 8 of these, and by 19 minutes, if you were honest, you will be on the verge of throwing up, your legs and lungs will feel like balloons.  This routine once per week is really key.  It helps you to ultimately recover better from all workouts. It is also essential anaerobic training necessary for high altitude simulation of the thin air we will be skiing in. I absolutely hate it, but it really pays off in many different ways.

Also a huge part of our training is just skiing.  From my office, the lifts to Aspen Mountain are only a 5 minute walk.  So 3-4 days per week, I will hit the slopes for a late lunch break.  It usually only entails a couple of top to bottom non-stop runs, but it is a great break.  And doing the non-stops is also a great strength builder; To ski Aspen Mountain’s 3,300 feet by way of the numerous steeps, bumps, and difficult terrain, is to experience skiing at it’s best.  Throw in the competition of a brother or buddy, and the race is on.  Make sure you have a snot rag in your pocket; at the bottom you will need it.

So training really boils down to the life style we have become accustomed to here in Aspen.  We are very fortunate in that the lifestyle really trains us well for climbing and skiing in the higher peaks around the world.

Mike Marolt lives in Aspen and is a KPMG Peat Marwick alumni.

Dispatches 2007   and   Sponsors

To see there reports from earlier Everest Expedition see here.

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