hellard_001-254x300To ski, or not to ski? When the snow falls, this question comes up a lot.

In the old days (like just 10 years ago), the cyclists of the world that had the option took to cross country skiing in the winter. Computrainers, Tacx trainers and other ride specific plans were few and far between. Instead, they skied.

The great riders skied a lot and they turned out to be very good at it. I can honestly say that every strong cyclist I know who skis, is very good, and every strong skier I know who rides, is a monster on the bike. It seems the transfer of fitness and strength, both aerobically and strength wise, were very complementary.

So it is that at this time of year, I strongly suggest that if you can ski, get out there and ski as much as you can.

That said, if you have a training program for cycling, and you ski, you can easily substitute skiing for riding on a 2:1 ratio, that meaning if you have a 1 hour ride on your plan, then ski for 2 hours. This goes especially for those that are poor skiers or slow ski conditions. If you are a good skier or the conditions are fast, then stay out longer. To the non-skiers, the difference between fast conditions and slow conditions would be like a point to point tailwind versus a point to point headwind.

Also to the non-skiers, Gatineau Parc can be a magical place in the winter: the views and scenery are usually phenomenal and make it very easy to stay out longer. I highly recommend skiing.

If you are a non-skier wanting to become a skier, I suggest classic skiing to get started because it teaches all the fundamentals of good skiing, such as balance and weight transfer, that cross over to skate skiing if you want to go that way. Classic skiing is also a bit more social since you can ski beside someone.

However, if you are an adrenaline junkie of the endurance type, and just want to go fast right away, then skate skiing may be the way to go. You should still learn all the basics of balance and weight transfer that are the keys to classic skiing, but you can muscle your way through the sport a bit more and it does tend to be faster (and less wax dependant).



Rick Hellard, Head Coach (only coach) of Zone3Sports, has done it all and shares his knowledge and experience with his clients and keeps them from making mistakes they don’t need to make. His workouts are productive, interesting and fun. As a result, Zone3sports clients avoid mistakes, want to do the workouts and therefore can’t help but improve.