Backcountry Ski Pre-Season Training Program


• 6-Week Plan specifically for backcountry skiing
• Trains uphill skinning fitness, downhill skiing strength, core and general fitness
• Requires fully-equipped gym
• This training plan is one of the 200+ Plans included with an Athlete’s Subscription.


This intense 6-week training program is designed to prepare athletes for backcountry skiing. It models the training program we give to our professional mountain guides recreational backcountry skiers here in Jackson, Wy.

Program Goals:
– Build the eccentric strength and strength endurance in your legs to prepare you for the eccentric loading which occurs during downhill skiing.
– Build the lactate tolerance and recovery in your legs so you can ski harder longer, and recover quicker during stops or between runs.
– Build your core/midsection strength and overall strength to add stability during skiing and increase overall durability
– Build your glute medius strength, hamstring strength and landing mechanics to help protect your knees from injury during the ski season.
– Build your legs and lungs for skinning uphill.

You’ll train 5 days/week for 6 weeks – a total of 30x training sessions.

Weekly Training Schedule:

  • Monday – Leg Blasters, Skier Hops
  • Tuesday – Step ups, running, core strength and calve raises
  • Wednesday – Strength Training, moderate running
  • Thursday – Jump Rope, Leg Blasters, Leg-focused Work Capacity efforts, core strength
  • Friday – Step ups, core strength, glute medius work

The training program includes bodyweight and traditional barbell strength training exercises as well as step ups and running for endurance.


  • Fully equipped gym, including barbells, rack, dumbbells, plyo boxes, etc.
  • 25# Backpack
  • Stopwatch with interval timer


What Equipment is Required?

  • Fully equipped gym, including barbells, rack, dumbbells, plyo boxes, etc.
  • 25# Backpack
  • Stopwatch with interval timer

What if I miss a training day?
Ideally, you will train 5 days in a row, and take 2 full days off for rest. If for some reason miss a session,  do not skip ahead. Start again where you left off and complete the sessions in order throughout the plan.

Where do I find unfamiliar exercises?
See our Exercise Library HERE. The Run Calculator is listed as an exercise.

What about nutrition?
See our Nutritional Guidelines HERE.

Can I see sample training?
Click the “Sample Training” tab to see the entire first week of programming. 
You are encouraged to do it before purchasing.

What if I can’t do the whole session?
If you don’t have enough time to complete the whole session, you can split the session into two.

How do I access the plan? Pdf? Online?
Plan access is online, via username and password.

Can I print out sessions to take to the gym?
Yes – you can print a week of programming at a time.

What if I have more questions?

Required Equipment

  • Fully equipped gym, including barbells, rack, dumbbells, plyo boxes, etc.

  • 25# Backpack

  • Stopwatch with interval timer

Sample Training


Warm up:
3 Rounds

  • 10x Goblet Squats (M-16kg, W-12kg)

  • 10x Box Jumps @ 24" Box

  • 10x Push ups

  • Pigeon Stretch

(1) 5 Rounds

  • 5x Front Squat - increase load each round until 4x is hard, but doable

  • 4x Scotty Bob (M-25#, W-15#)

  • Instep

(2) 5 Rounds

  • 5x Walking Lunge - increase load each round until 5x is hard, but doable

  • 5/7x Chin ups (lower number for women)

  • Hip Flexor Stretch

(3) Run 3 miles, Moderate Pace (Moderate = comfortable, not easy)


Warm up:

  • 5 Minute Jump Rope

(1) 2 Rounds

  • Full Leg Blaster

  • 30 second rest ….

then immediately ….

(2) 6 Rounds

  • Mini Leg Blaster

  • 30 Seconds Rest

(3) 4 Rounds

  • 20/20 Standing Founder

  • 20/20 Low Back Lunge

  • 20/20 Kneeling Founder

  • 10x Face Down Back Extension

(4) 3 Rounds

  • 30 Sec Box Jump @ 20” Box, then immediately....

  • 30 Sec Touch/Jump/Touch, then immediately....

  • 30 Sec Thruster - Men use 25# dumbbells, Women use 15# dumbbells

  • 60 Seconds Rest

(4) 4 Rounds

  • 10x 1-Leg Glute Bridge

  • Hip Flexor + Instep + Pigeon Stretch


Warm up:

  • 500x Step ups @ 25# in backpack (250x each leg)


(1) 4 Rounds

  • 10x Cheater Ankle to Bar

  • 10x EO's

  • 30/30 Side Bridge

  • 10x Slashers @ 12/16kg

(2) 2 Rounds

  • 20 Second Jane Fonda each leg

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Fitness Programming Focused on
Mission-Direct Performance

All that matters to MTI is outside performance. We are driven to continuously improve and evolve. To this end MTI is not beholden to any fitness programming methodology, equipment or exercise. We continuously research, deploy, assess and iterate our programming with an emphasis on Mission-Direct application and performance. Here is the MTI Method:

MTI begins program design with extensive research of the fitness demands of the mission, sport or event, identifies the exercises and progressions which sport-specifically meet those demands, chose end-of-cycle goals, and program backward to design the training plan.

We deploy the training plan "Lab Rats" at our Wyoming facility. Training session and cycle issues are identified and fixed as we work through the training plan.  Post cycle we assess the programming's effectiveness and efficiency. We keep the stuff that works, and fix or toss the stuff that doesn't.

Plan is published for purchase as an individual training plan and made available to our subscribers.

It doesn't stop there. We take what we learn by deploying our mountain and tactical programming with our Lab Rats, go back, re-visit, update and improve already published training plans. Several of our individual training plans are on their 4th or 5th version.

Our Stuff Works. Guaranteed.

By Rob Shaul

I received notes frequently from athletes hesitant to purchase a subscription or training plans asking me to sell them on why they should make the purchase.

While I understand the question, I’m not a salesman - so I can't put a hard sale on anyone for our programming.

I can tell them the process we go through to design our programming.

We begin with extensive research on the fitness demands of the event, identify the exercises and progressions which sport specifically meet those demands, chose end-of-cycle goals, and program backward to design the plan.

Then we test the cycle on ourselves and our lab rats here in Wyoming. We document, note what works and doesn’t work, re-assess, and make changes and modifications.

Then we publish the programming in the form of one of our plans or as part of our subscription daily training sessions for tactical and mountain athletes.
We don’t stop there - our daily programming is the “tip of the spear” for our programming evolution. We use these sessions to learn and make continuous improvement.

As we learn more and improve, we go back, and update the sport-specific training plans on the website. For example, we’re currently on Version 5 of our Ruck Based Selection Training Plan and Version 3 of our Dryland Ski Training Plan and Version 4 of our Big Game Back Country Hunting Training Plan.

We understand our programing isn’t cheap, but we believe it’s a great value. The $79 for the Ruck Based Selection Training Plan, and $39 for the Dryland Ski Training Plan reflect the, research, work, innovative theory, iteration, testing and feedback we've put in and received to make these plans effective.

All that matters for us is outside performance, and we feel strongly that Our Stuff Works in the real world.

Here’s our guarantee:

1) Individual Training Plan Purchase:
If you purchase an individual training plan, follow it as prescribed before your season/event/pft/selection, and if you don’t feel you were physically ready for your season/event/pft/selection, and/or didn’t see dramatic improvements in your early season performance, we’ll refund your money, no questions asked.

2) Athlete’s Subscription
If you purchase an Athletes’ Subscription, follow the training sessions as prescribed, and are not satisfied with the quality of the programming, notify us within 30 days of purchase, and we’ll refund your money, no questions asked.



Firstly a big thank you just back from a fantastic weeks skiing hut to hut in the Grand Paradiso national park. It's the first time I've trained ski "fitness" rather than ski "technique"(just going skiing basically). Wow what a difference!

I did the BC ski program then started the AMGA ski guide program although I only did the first 3 weeks, all I could fit in before the trip. I did my "skinning" on a nordic track machine which seemed to work really well.

Thanks, - R

I just returned from a fantastic trip with 4 other women on which we climbed and skied Mt. Elbrus in Russia. On the advice of my daughter, who lives in Jackson, I followed your backcountry ski training program to train for this adventure.  I've been weight training on my own for over 30 years, but have never had a trainer or followed a regimented program. Let me tell you that your program was fantastic!  I was motivated, got a feeling of accomplishment after every workout and felt great every step of the way on Elbrus.  Even with the slight modifications I made in some of the exercises to protect my aging knees, the program has brought me to a new level of fitness.  --N
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This Plan is one of 200+ plans included in the Athlete's Subscription.