Tips to enhance your Nordic season.
Bozeman is a world-class Nordic skiing community. Trust me—after four years on the road with the U.S. Ski Team, I am looking forward to a winter playing in the snow around this town. If you’re planning to hit the trails as well, consider these tips—they’ll help keep the cold at bay and prepare you for the kilometers ahead.
Hot Tip #1: Keep your core strong
Efficiency and technique in Nordic skiing start with your core, and by mid-fall our Bridger Ski Foundation athletes are doing two to three core workouts each week. Whether in the comfort of your own home, or the pain cave of a local gym, there is no substitute for a good core workout! Three exercises I love are:
Good old-fashioned planks: Front, side, back—it’s all great. Start off holding each for 30 seconds, working up to one minute. If that’s too easy, you can add some dynamic movements, such as raising the opposite arm and leg, “walking” while in a front-plank position, or moving your top leg up and down while in a side plank.
Single-leg medicine-ball crunches: Stand on one leg while holding a lightweight medicine ball. Start in a crunched position with knee and medicine ball touching in front of your chest, then with a slow and controlled movement, extend your free leg back behind you while lifting the medicine ball up and out in front of your face. Do this 10-15 times on each leg and repeat for 3 sets. You should feel this in your lower back.
Hanging leg lifts: While hanging from a pull-up bar, bring your knees to your chest. Do this for 30 seconds to one minute. You can add a twist to each side to work your obliques, as well. Start with one side, then center, next side, and repeat.
Hot Tip #2: Ditch the poles
Upper-body strength is crucial in skiing, but the legs drive the beast. No-pole skiing is the best way to make sure you are developing proper balance and body position while on skis. Whether classic or skate skiing, it’s important that skiers spend time skiing without poles. I like to build 30 minutes of no-pole skiing into our fall rollerski and early on-snow distance workouts. While no-pole skiing, think about keeping your hips high and forward, full commitment to each ski, and maintaining proper upper-body position.
Hot Tip #3: Wax often, but keep it simple!
Ski service has become somewhat of an arms race on the World Cup circuit, with teams spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on state-of-the-art mobile wax trucks, flex testers, stone grinders, and waxes. While this is the norm for elite ski racers, it doesn’t need to be the case for us commoners. The beauty of our sport lies in its simplicity. Even on the World Cup, the wax that is applied most often to a skier’s fleet is a simple non-fluorinated paraffin wax. I encourage you all to find a brand that you like and stick with it. Try to put a fresh layer of non-fluorinated wax on your skis at least once a week and use the temperature ranges provided by the manufacturers to choose your wax on a given day.
Most of all, enjoy your time sliding over the many great trails we have around Bozeman!
Andrew Morehouse is the Nordic program director and head coach for the Bridger Ski Foundation and is a former wax tech for the U.S. Ski Team World Cups and Olympics.