British Alpine champion Cara Brown on how to stay ski-fit over the summer

Cara Brown, 23, is putting her all into making the Pyeongchang 2018 Olympics – and that means training hard, all year round. Here’s how she keeps racing-fit, even in the summer

Hit the ice

Why stop skiing at all? There are plenty of glaciers open in summer, including Tignes, Val d’Isère, Hintertux and Stubai. They’re all pretty small, but that makes them ideal for training because we just lap the same run every day. My favourite has to be Val d’Isère because you can drive all the way up to it – no standing around for ages in a cable car with all your bags and skis. Plus, once you’re up there, it’s really quiet. It’s got a good giant slalom slope and a speed hill too. It’s usually our first camp of the summer, so I’m always excited to be there.

Embrace the British summer

If you can’t make it to the glaciers then hit the UK’s dry ski slopes. It might not be as fun as snow, but it does keep your skiing skills high so you have the edge come winter. In London, there’s also this indoor ski slope called Chel-ski (chel-ski.uk) which is like a rotating treadmill you ski on. It’s really good for your fitness. They turn it on for five minutes and you have to ski the whole time. There’s no stopping!

Have a goal, says Cara: “Even if you’re not racing, think about why you want to improve, and how you’re going to do it”

Have a goal, says Cara: “Even if you’re not racing, think about why you want to improve, and how you’re going to do it”

Get a gym membership

The good thing about being off skis is that you can really go for it in the gym, as you don’t have to be worried about training the next day. So I spend a lot of time there, primarily working on my legs but also trying to keep everything in balance. It’s not all about the weights because muscle endurance is as important as muscle strength – your muscles have to last the full minute down the course, not just the first 10 seconds. So there’s no reason to be doing 100kg squats – you can go a lot lighter and do more reps instead. I try to mix it up with lunges, dead lifts, cleans and snatches too.

Love the outdoors

There are fun ways to get fit – it’s not all about being in the gym. You can do things like push-ups or lunges without gym equipment, so why not do them outside in the sun? Swimming and cycling also help to keep things varied. I started doing a lot of road biking last summer because I tore my ACL last April and was off skiing for the whole summer. I hated the idea of it because I’d seen pictures of people on Facebook doing full-on four-hour bike rides and I thought it looked horrific, but my coaches told me just to do an hour or so. It helps that I spend a lot of my off-season at home in Varese, Italy, where there are a lot of beautiful lakes to cycle around.

Have a goal

Having a clear goal is so important for motivation. This was especially true for me last summer. After tearing my ACL I had to do all these tedious exercises for my knee. I just kept saying to myself ‘Every minute you do this exercise is
a minute closer to getting back on skis’.  Even if you’re not racing, and you just want to be fitter for your next holiday, it’s essential to think about why you want to improve, and how you’re going to do it.

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