The most cliché saying that us Nordic skiers hear is: “skiers are made in the summer”, but it just so happens to be true. The successes (and failures) of our seasons are a direct result of what we did in the spring, summer, and early fall. It can be hard to remember this at the end of a 4-hour point-to-point run in 30-degree heat but it is crucial to success. Motivation has always been a problem for me in the off-season, as racing is my favorite part of Nordic skiing, beating out beautiful landscapes, time spent in nature, and the social aspect, which are the elements of this beautiful sport.
There are a number of things I do to keep motivated and make sure off-season training is still fun.
- Measurement: I try to measure and progress in all aspects of the sport, whether that is technique, strength, endurance, speed, etc. This allows me to see how I’m improving and I can think towards how these improvements are going to help me in the upcoming season.
- Variety: I try to switch up the training a fair bit and make sure that I am doing different kinds of workouts, in different places, and with different people. This not only keeps the motivation high, but also helps me become a better skier in the long run as new challenges and adaptations are around every corner.
- Music, music, music. I have trained on a variety of teams and it has allowed me to discover the joys and precision of training alone. And I attribute many of my successes to my ability to do this. But after long week, punching out those final climbs in an intensity workout, or pushing towards the end of a long run can still be tough. I usually try and break this up, along with some of the natural monotony that comes with training, by listening to music. I am always putting together new playlists and mixes to keep me going.
The Okanagan was my childhood training ground for 9 or so years, and as such, I tried to find the best things I could do in the valley. A few staple workouts come to mind, like ski striding intervals up “The Wall” in Kal Park, rollerskiing up Silver Star Mountain Rd, and running workouts at the old track. I learned how to beat the heat in the middle of summer and tried to plan workouts to end at some sort of lake or beach. There was nothing better than cooling off the muscles after a long workout. Highly recommend it!
When the winter rolled around it switched to training almost all the time at Sovereign Lake, Silver Star, or the NATC and I got to know these venues well. A ski joining Sovereign Lake and Silver Star that I had on a beautiful day a few years ago is still in my top 5 skis I’ve ever done (Switzerland and Sunshine Meadows in Banff are on that list as well!) and it never disappoints when I return to the trails for a NorAm, Christmas, training camp, or family visit. Even more than the amazing weather, amount of snow, early snow, and convenient location, the thing I most enjoyed was the variety. I could find whatever kind of terrain I desired. Whether for fun, or for improving a certain facet of my training it was a great spot and something I have yet to find around the globe.