How do ski guides prep for the season? What’s a typical ‘locker room’ conversation that happens between guides before they embark on a backcountry trip? Over the next several weeks, we’ll be publishing excerpts from Rob Coppolillo’s The Ski Guide Manual that answer some of those questions. For the rest of those answers, pre-order your copy of the book.
Our trip plan really begins late summer and early fall, when we revisit our gear, begin working on ski fitness, incorporate new teammates, identify some season goals, and further develop our run atlas. Between your mountain biking, rock climbing, competitive lawn-dart tournaments, a little work, perhaps some parenting, you should find the time to lay the foundation for a fantastic ski-and-ride season in the months leading up to it. When the backcountry finally fills in, you want to be ready, mentally and physically. The easy part is getting the legs and lungs strong enough for the long days, believe it or not. Ask yourself, though: If you’re willing to do your dead lifts, weighted hikes, and plyometrics, are you doing the same work mentally? Seasonal prep acts as gym time for your brain and decision-making skills.
The irony is, we often spend more time researching and buying a new set of skis than we do refining our skills for the upcoming winter. I’m guilty of it too! Be honest with yourself, though. Are you preparing as diligently mentally as you are physically? Is your head game as dialed-in as your new choice in steep skis? Do you practice your decision making? How? When?