Training Guide For Backcountry Skiing


Hiking up the slopes and skiing down can be incredibly strenuous on your body, requiring a significant amount of strength and endurance. It, therefore, goes without saying that you should arrive fit and well if you want to have a successful ski day. Being physically fit will enable you to charge hard when going downhill and stomp landings with a lower risk of skiing injuries.

In this guide, we discuss the most effective cardiovascular and resistance ski training exercises to help you prepare adequately for your next ski touring. Let’s dive in!

Why You Need Strength And Endurance

When you are just getting started with skiing, you may notice that your legs start feeling sloppy and out of control after just a few rounds of skiing. This is normal because your body is not used to being subjected to such a strenuous exercise. That’s why you need to train to keep your body in shape and avoid fatiguing easily. Training is also one of the most effective ways to prevent skiing and snowboarding injuries.

When training for backcountry skiing, your main focus should be on improving your strength and endurance. Strength is what enables you to move your body weight uphill and endurance is what enables you to do it for an extended period.

Cardio Training

Cardiovascular training will help you build endurance. The most effective way to train will be mountain biking or walking outside. Choose a gradient similar to the slope you will be skiing on to get the most out of your workout.

When climbing a mountain, most people like to walk faster in intervals, with 5 to 10-minute breaks in between. To mimic this, do your cardio training on an ascent, 4 to 5 times a week for 45 to 90 minutes.

You can break your session into smaller manageable ones and increase the duration of the mini sessions as your endurance develops. Consider wearing a weighted vest or adding some load in your skiing backpack during your final days of training to get used to carrying your skiing equipment uphill.

Also, remember that you need to fuel up to keep your body energized throughout the day. To find out how much energy you need to complete your ski sessions successfully.

You can experiment with eating 30 to 45 minutes before your cardio workout to see what works for the amount of training you will be doing. Now imagine how much energy will be drained when going uphill and skiing downhill and keep experimenting with exact timing and calories until you have found a balance that supplies your body with enough energy for the ski day.

Resistance Training

When you have strong and well-built muscles, you can climb the mountain and glide down much easier. Strength training exercises will build your muscle mass, improve your balance and stability, and complement your cardio workouts so you can ski better.

When you begin training for ski touring, have your resistance training sessions on days when you are not doing cardio. Once you have learned the ropes and your strength and endurance have increased, you can perform both workouts on the same day. To lighten your workout or prevent your muscles from being excessively sore, take a day off.

One of the greatest mistakes that beginner skiers make is to think that they can do everything all at once. Well, this not only increases your risk of injuries but also leaves you demotivated to keep training. When you take some rest, you allow your muscles to recover so they can rebuild and get stronger. Remember to eat a healthy meal and stay hydrated.

Training Methods For Backcountry Skiing


Building Endurance

There are numerous ways through which you can train for endurance. Here are the two that have worked for backcountry skiers.


Hiking can be super effective when training for backcountry skiing. This is especially because of the added weight of the hiking backpack. Simply strapping on a weighted pack makes hiking up and down the trail intense, which helps in building endurance.

You can do this 2 to 3 times a week for about 45 to 120 minutes a day. As your endurance builds up, add more weight to the pack and increase the duration of our sessions. You must hike on a trail that has the same slope steepness as what you will be skiing on.


Walking is yet another great way to build your endurance. Simply walking down the street 30 to 45 minutes a day will improve your cardio. Mix this up with a jog to get your heart pumping even faster. And as we all know, the faster your heart beats, the healthier it becomes, and the better it can endure those walks up the mountain.

The only reason why walking may not be as effective as a hike is that it doesn’t exert the same stress in terms of the weight carried. If walking is your preferred way of training, however, trying zipping into a weighted vest or go on a hike.

Building Strength

Just like cardio training, there are plenty of workouts that you can perform to build your resistance. In fact, you don’t need to visit the gym to perform most of these, as there is no fancy equipment required.  Below are a few examples of bodyweight workouts that you can do comfortably in your backyard.

Band Walk

To get started, grab a resistance band and tie it around your shins, right above your ankles. Then, with your feet aligned with the hips, start walking forward, making sure that the band doesn’t pull your feet towards each other. Relax your arms and shoulders and keep your abs engaged. Band walks will work your legs and build muscle mass that will help your move up the slopes easily.


Another workout that focuses on building and strengthening your leg muscles is the good old step up. To begin, stand behind a bench, step, or plyobox, and step your right foot on top. Then start driving your left leg up until you are in a stable balanced position.

Keep your center of gravity above the leg you are stepping up with. Relax your shoulders and keep your abs engaged. Lower the lifted leg back to its starting position. Repeat this 15 to 20 times and then change to the other side.

Weighted Lunges

If you are looking for an exercise that works both your legs and arms, try weighted lunges. To get started, hold dumbbells in your hands, with each hand resting at your side. Then move your right leg forward and drop the rear knee down.

Bend your knees to about 90 degrees, keeping your center of gravity between both legs. Lunge up and down, making sure you are going as low as comfortable. Return to the starting position and shift to the other leg.

Single-Leg Squat

A single-leg squat will work and strengthen your legs, hips, arms, and abs. Start by extending your right leg and standing with your left leg with its knee bent to 90 degrees. Use your arms momentum to push off your upper body and the standing leg.

Jump to the side and touch down with your right leg. Ensure you are balanced properly before jumping back to the other side. Repeat for 5 minutes, jumping from side to side.

Finding Time For Ski Training

Okay, so you have decided you want to get your body in shape for your ski trip. The first thing you need to do to ensure ski safety is to find out the amount of incline of your preferred slopes. Obtaining this information will help you choose the most appropriate trail for training. It will also give you an idea of the amount of cardio or strength training you should do to set yourself up for success.

Once you have acquired this information, look for places where you can train the best and the most convenient time for you to do it.  Cycling or walking to work a few times a week and regular gym visits are all effective ways to train without affecting other commitments.

To stay motivated, consider joining ski training clubs or organizing a group of friends and doing the workouts together. This will keep you committed to your sessions and enhance your social skills.

Globo Surf Overview

Training for ski touring is important if you are looking to get the most out of your adventure. How fit you want your body to be on your next ski trip is completely up to you. But remember this; if you are still fueled up by the time you finish your climb, you will enjoy the downhill ride a lot more.

There numerous workouts that can improve your strength and endurance; you just need to choose the one you are most comfortable with. Always listen to how your body responds to training and don’t do anything that will hurt or overexert you.

More Snow Reviews:


  1. How To Get In Shape For Backcountry Touring,
Globo Surf
My name is David Hamburg. I am an avid water sports fan who enjoys paddle boarding, surfing, scuba diving, and kite surfing. Anything with a board or chance I can get in the water I love! I am such a big fan I decided to start this website to review all my favorite products and some others. Hope you enjoy!