This intense, limited equipment, 5-week, 6 day/week training program is designed to prepare athletes for a week-long heliski trip in Alaska or similar. This program is designed to be completed the 5 weeks directly before your heliski trip.
Heliski trips are physically demanding and require a high level of ski-specific strength and strength endurance to maximize the trip experience. These trips can include upwards of 40,000 feet per day of vertical, powder skiing, on multiple, successive days. Heliski tour operators say athlete fitness – or lack thereof – is one reason epic powder days must be cut short.
This program assumes the athlete completing it is a recreational skier – primarily a weekend warrior at a lift-assisted ski area – and prescribes specific vertical feet skiing on Saturdays and Sundays. If you are not skiing on a particular weekend, the program includes Friday and Saturday programming.
This is Version 1 of the plan, designed in November 2021.
- 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. The following equipment is required:
- 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
What if I miss a training day?
Ideally, you will train 6 days in a row, and take 1 full day 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.
I’m a very active recreational skier and ski at a lift-assisted resort more than 2 days/week. How can I modify the plan?
It depends somewhat the number of days you ski per week and how consistent you are with your skiing. Email email@example.com for specific guidance.
I’m a very active backcountry skier Do I need to modify the plan?
You’ll need to add a third Leg Lactate Tolerance/Chassis Integrity day to the plan – on Saturdays. As you know, heliskiing is not backcountry skiing – and you’ll get much more vertical descent than your fitness may be used to. The concentric strength and strength endurance needed for uphill skinning is not the same as the eccentric strength and strength endurance used for the downhill. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for specific guidance.
I’m an older athlete (50-60 years old) – how can I modify the plan for my age?
The fitness demands of a heliski trip are the same for every athlete – regardless of age. That this means is there is not prescribed change in the programming. What we do recommend is you start earlier (6 weeks out from your trip) and add in an extra day of rest per week.
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.
What does “15/25#” mean? What about “40/60#”? What does “3/6x Chin Ups” mean
15 pound dumbbells for women, 25 pound dumbbells for men.
40 pound sandbag for women, 60 pound sandbag for men.
3x Chin Ups for Women, 6x Chin Ups for Men
Where do I find unfamiliar exercises?
See our Exercise Library HERE. The Run/Ruck Calculator is listed as an exercise.
What about nutrition?
See our Nutritional Guidelines HERE.
Can I see sample training?
Yes. Click the “Sample Training” tab to see the entire first week of programming.
How do I access the plan?
Access is online, via username and password. You can log in either through our website or through our app (Mtn Tactical Fitness) available for IOS and Android.
Can I print out sessions to take to the gym?
Yes – you can print a week of programming at a time.
More Questions? Email: email@example.com
Before beginning any exercise program, consult with your physician to ensure that you are in proper health. Physical training contains inherent risks including, but not limited to, muscle strains, tears, physical and bodily injury up to and including death. This training program is not meant to provide medical advice; you should obtain medical advice from your private health care practitioner. If you are unable to assume these risks then you should not engage in this training program. No liability is assumed by Mountain Tactical Institute, Inc, its owners or employees, and you train at your own risk. Mountain Tactical Institute makes no warranty, express or implied, of any kind in connection with this training program.