The 3-Step Formula for Pre-Season Results
Women cross training for nordic skiing
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The 3-Step Formula for Pre-Season Results

October 18, 2017

Olympian and Great Glen Trails Ski School Director, Sue Wemyss, gives us a winning formula for pre-season Nordic ski training!

It's coming, can you feel it? Winter, snow, the holiday season and yes, ski season! It's never fun to be lagging the first day back on the trails. So, how do you prep right this year? Nordic skiing Olympian Sue Wemyss has the tried-and-true three-part recipe for attested results.

Get Your Whole Body Moving

Skiing is a whole body sport. You need to get your heart and respiratory rates up ASAP! Your lungs need to be able to feed more oxygen to your arms and legs at the same time to meet the demands of all the muscles, not just your running legs, or your paddling arms.

Nordic walking with poles

Try this: Nordic Walking- walking with ski poles!

Get poles that reach your underarms, put on your walking shoes and go! Reach forward so your elbow is forward of your torso, and plant the pole at an acute angle to the ground. As you push down through the pole, your stride will lengthen, thus activating more muscles in your legs. Make sure you are actively trying to engage your arms with each pole plant and try walking with large, powerful strides. Work to extend the amount of your Nordic walking time as ski season approaches.

Develop Your Core

Without a strong midsection (like your back, sides, and abs) it is nearly impossible to transmit power from your arms to your legs. To hold your Nordic skiing technique together you need internal support.

Dips and lunges on picnic table

Give these exercises a try.

Planks and side planks

Russian Twists: Sitting on the floor with the soles of your feet on the ground and knees bent, clasp your hands together or hold a medicine ball for more challenge. Lift your feet slightly off the ground, and then touch your hands (or the ball) to one side, then the other, while you maintain steady breathing.

Supermans: Lie prone (face down), arms and legs stretched out like Superman flying. Lift arms and legs simultaneously off the ground, hold for a couple of seconds, then drop them back to the floor. Repeat three times.

Bridges: Lying supine (face up), arms at your side. Bring your feet up near your bum by bending your knees, while keeping the soles of the feet on the ground. Then lift your bum, creating a straight line with your body from knees to shoulders. Hold this position for up to 1 minute. Further challenge yourself by lifting a single leg while your hips are off the ground.

Work On Your Balance

Sometimes it's all about the small stuff. Both Nordic and downhill skiing require a lot of balance and coordination. You can pump all the iron you want but you still might biff while trying to get your foot in your binding. Gliding in cross-country requires balancing on one ski. So tie it all together with some balance exercises.

women balancing on one foot in a circle

Try this: Balance on one leg.

Easy to do while you watch TV or while waiting for a table at your favorite restaurant. Get your body back into being comfortable on one leg. Once you are good at balancing on both of your legs individually, try moving your arms and lifted leg while balancing or closing your eyes for a further challenge!

NAILED IT! Now that you've nailed Nordic pre-season, sign up for one of Great Glen Trails' on-snow, early-season Nordic Warm-Up clinics and let us help you get your groove back!

You can also book private on-snow nordic technique sessions with Sue Wemyss by calling (603) 466-2333 or by emailing

Don't forget the importance of warming-up and cooling down when you work out. Sue suggests that you warm-up and cool down for 10 minutes before you engage in any rigorous training.

Written By
Shannon Dunfey-Ball, Great Glen Trails