Plan Focus: Heliski Trip Training Plan

Owen Leaper in Valdez, Alaska with Pulseline Adventure.


Heliski trips are physically demanding and require a high level of ski-specific strength and strength endurance to maximize safety and the trip experience. These trips can include upwards of 40,000 feet per day of vertical, powder skiing, on multiple, successive days. Heliski operators say that athlete fitness, or lack thereof – is one reason epic powder days must be cut short.

This training plan was designed upon request and with the input from the lead guides of Alaska heliski company Pulseline Adventure in order to prepare athletes for a week-long heliski trip in Alaska or similar locations.

From experience, the most common reason powder days must be cut short is athlete fitness – or lack thereof.

The program is specifically designed for the recreational skier – who is primarily a weekend warrior at a lift-assisted ski area.

It prescribes specific vertical feet skiing on Saturdays and Sundays, as well as alternative workouts if you can’t make it to the mountains some weekends.  It is an intense, yet accessible 5-week, 6 day/week training program that is designed to be done in the five weeks leading up to your trip.  For those who backcountry ski or ski more regularly, please email us for modifications.  



  • Build the eccentric strength and strength endurance in your legs to prepare you for the eccentric loading which will occur during you long heliski runs and multiple runs per day during your trip.
  • 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 upper body strength and strength endurance for overall and shoulder durability – especially for hard falls
  • Build your backcountry skiing stamina so you’ll be prepared for skinning trips if/when weather grounds the helicopter during your trip.
  • Build your overall general endurance

The chart below outlines the fitness demand being trained, exercise used to train it, and end of cycle goal: 



  • Mon: Eccentric Leg Strength (Leg Blasters), Chassis Integrity
  • Tue: Leg Lactate Tolerance (Touch/Jump/Touch to Box), Chassis Integrity
  • Wed: Eccentric Leg Strength (Leg Blasters), Step Ups
  • Thur: Leg Lactate Tolerance (Touch/Jump/Touch to Box), Chassis Integrity
  • Fri (not skiing during the weekend): Eccentric Leg Strength (Leg Blasters), Step Ups
  • Fri (skiing during the weekend): Total Rest
  • Sat (not skiing during the weekend): General Endurance – Moderate Pace Run, 4-6 miles
  • Sat (skiing during the weekend): Purposeful vertical feet skiing (20K-40K feet) wearing a 10-15# backpack
  • Sun (not skiing during the weekend): Total Rest
  • Sat (skiing during the weekend): Purposeful vertical feet skiing (10K-20K feet) wearing a 10-15# backpack



This is a limited equipment training plan. You will need the following equipment:

  • Sandbag – 40# for women, 60# for men.
  • Backpack with 25# of load for step ups and 10-15# of load for weekend, lift-assisted, skiing.
  • Stopwatch with interval timer (smartphone will work) and/or wall clock or watch with a second hand
  • Foam Roller
  • 12-16″ Box or bench for Step Ups and Touch/Jump/Touch to Box intervals



If you’re interested in Heliski Tours, Pulseline is excited to offer special pricing for MTI Athletes; learn more at or contact Pulseline at (and mention MTI)

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