On this challenge you will be Backcountry Skiing a marathon over 2 days, and the route is specially designed and created for us by our Abisko Mountain Guides; these are on and off formed trails. Backcountry Skiing is very similar in technique to Power Walking but on skis; the movement is the classic cross country skiing, this is a kick and glide technique, with the skis running parallel to each other.
This movement over 6-8 hours per day requires you to train your body in preparation for continually doing this movement for the duration. As well as improving core strength, we cannot emphasise how important training and your core fitness is. Not only will you be learning the movement and across a marathon distance, but you will also be climbing up some hills... you are in the mountains after all, which also means there are a few downs too.
Backcountry Skiing is different to alpine skiing, although similar in principal, and everyone will fall at some point, and that's part of the fun! So you will need to have the ability and strength, even when tired, to get yourself back up and keep moving on... strong core muscles, ankles and strength are all required for this challenge.
You may also be battling varying weather conditions, which can be extreme… with temperatures down to -30 on the odd occasion to skiing into strong winds, these too can be tiring at times - this is a big challenge after all. Training, more training and even more training is required so that you feel confident and able to complete the distance whatever the weather. We will help with tips, advice and a detailed 16-week Training Plan, plus an invitation to an Information Day in November where we will go through Clothing & Equipment and Training in detail, plus you will receive bi-weekly Update Emails in the lead up to your challenge.
For those that can ski - it is a case of acquiring the necessary core fitness and training with both power walking and upper body exercise to take on this type of challenge. Backcountry skiing is very different to alpine skiing so you will be using different muscles and strength to complete the challenge.
For those that do not currently ski - in addition to the necessary core fitness of power walking and upper body strength, the additional part of your training will be on dry ski slopes, learning the basics of skiing such as snow ploughs and walking up slopes. Please note that you MUST be able to pass ski level 4 (at a minimum). It is estimated that 5 to 8 lessons would be sufficient to achieve this, but everyone is different and some may need less, some may need more. We have had many Walkers complete this challenge who haven’t previously been able to ski, it is absolutely possible!
Level 4 means that you have good control of your speed and direction and you are able to tackle steeper terrain than the nursery slopes. You have a confidence to ski down hills, keeping your skis parallel and to link your turns and finish into a snow plough. You must be able to manage to walk up slopes too, and this is all part of the control of your skis. You will be required to send us a Certificate, which most Ski Centres will be able to supply or a form of written documentation to confirm that you have reached an adequate level of 4 for this challenge.
If in doubt, please email us for more information, as we have been there and done it. Walk the Walk are able to recommend a number of slopes around the UK - please contact us for more information. These lessons are not part of the cost of the trip and must be undertaken by the entrant.
A 16-week bespoke Training Plan will be sent to you in your Walker Pack, but do try and get out Walking beforehand if you can, so that you can ease your way into regular training.
Rollerski is also an excellent way to get an idea what the style of Backcountry Skiing is really like, it also improves muscle strength and your core. Rollerskis look like a skateboard with wheels, like a roller-skate and it also uses Nordic poles... sounds odd but take a look online! It is a great way to develop both balance and technique, and works your body in a similar way to backcountry skiing; it also gives you a good idea of the fixings for your skis. But please do bear in mind that skiing on snow is very, very different! Take a look at RollerSki.co.uk.
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