Early Season Prep With Lorraine
We at Spyder are always eager to chat with our athletes and ambassadors about what they have been up to and what exciting things they have on the agenda next. Granted, in the wake of Covid, "exciting things on the agenda" are definitely on the lighter side. Nevertheless, throwing our standout Big Mountain skier Lorraine Huber into the ring always makes for a good conversation. We picked her brain on how to stay fit off the slopes (for the slopes) and threw in some handy packing tips for your upcoming winter expeditions as a bonus.
Spyder: The winter season is slowly kicking off all over Europe. Despite Covid, most ski resorts seem to be ready to wrestle with the virus to make sure skiers are safe and prepared while on the slopes. How are you kicking into gear to make sure you get the most out of your season?
Lorraine Huber: I got serious about strength and conditioning after I had my knee reconstruction in 2007. After the operation, my surgeon told me that I would have to train for the rest of my life to keep my knee happy.
There's so much that can go wrong when out freeriding, but training is one area of my life I can absolutely manage. I feel I owe it to myself and my body to work hard during pre-season... Strength plays a huge part in skiing as powerfully as I envision and stomp my airs. It's crucial to prepare your body for what you'd like to do on the skis - not all about technique and experience.
S: Of course! What does your training look like?
LH: Strength and conditioning is a very complex subject. Personally, it has always been my choice to work with an expert. I've trained with a coach ever since 2007, which is huge for my motivation to train hard over long periods of time. Your training in the gym is equally important as your training on the slopes - I highly recommend getting help from a pro for your personal training plan too...
When I was competing, the primary emphasis of my training was on explosive strength. Explosive strength is the ability to apply force with maximum speed - which comes in handy when stomping a big cliff.
S: Obviously legs are an enormous focus for skiers. Is that where you focus most of your training?
LH: We work on full-body strength using predominantly functional exercises. Core strength is also key for a skier to withstand external forces and to keep the torso stable. This is so important, especially in crud and tracked out conditions (as it's often the case at comps) and when landing airs.
We almost exclusively worked with free weights, and I can't overemphasize the importance of learning the correct lifting technique. Again, a coach here is a massive asset. I see so many people in the gym, for example, doing squats incorrectly. It's far better to do a full squat with less weight than performing a half or ¾ squat with a large amount of weight.
S: You fly all over the world to film, but how do you pack for these trips?
LH: For everyone who frequently travels - weight is always an issue. But what I found works best to stay clear from oversized bags is to bring a Gore-Tex shell jacket and pants, and pack and combine underlayers as needed. Then you'll be prepared for anything that comes your way: varying temperatures as well as activities...
In scenarios where you're just not sure about snow conditions, it's crucial to have a gear setup that will work in a broad range of conditions. A freeride ski with a girth of 100 to 110 mm works well here. For Japan and Canada, I generally pack the widest ski I have in my quiver. On the flip side, you need a more versatile freeride ski that can also handle chop and firmer conditions for traveling in the Alps... My go-to here; one pair of freeride boots with a walk mode, an all-terrain binding such as the Shift, and a lighter freeride ski that is still really fun on the way down, and you're golden!