MATILDA RAPAPORT

The Swede talks about what it takes to be­come one of the world’s best back­coun­try skiers – and how you can up your slope game

Men's Fitness - - Contents -

Slope tips from the top freeskier

How do you train off the moun­tain?

By do­ing a lot of en­durance, strength and agility work. Most of the ex­er­cises repli­cate ski­ing move­ments and po­si­tions. I work a lot with weight vests do­ing things like squats and lunges. I also love trail run­ning – living in the moun­tains means I have plenty of beau­ti­ful trails to ex­plore.

What should once-ayear skiers do to im­prove their hol­i­day ski­ing??

Most ca­sual skiers and snow­board­ers never warm up, which is ter­ri­ble be­cause there’s a good chance they’ll pull or tear a mus­cle. You’d never do high-in­ten­sity in­ter­vals with­out a warm-up, and it’s the same thing. Knees and back are the ar­eas at most risk of in­jury, so fo­cus on those. Body­weight squats, jumps and core ro­ta­tions at the top of your first run will help re­duce your chances of in­jury.

The moun­tains are full of dan­gers – what’s the scari­est sit­u­a­tion you’ve been in?

I once got dropped off by he­li­copter to do a run and it couldn’t land, so I had to jump out. I nearly ended up tum­bling straight off the side of the ridge – which would have meant a 50m drop onto rocks.

You do some ter­ri­fy­ing stuff on pur­pose too – how do you stop fear from over­whelm­ing you?

When I’m at the start gate of a com­pe­ti­tion and I’m su­per-ner­vous, I try to smile and re­mem­ber I’m do­ing this be­cause I love it. But when it comes to risks in the moun­tains it’s about trust­ing your in­stincts and eval­u­at­ing the en­vi­ron­ment. The trick is to fo­cus on what you want to hap­pen, not the worst thing that could hap­pen.

What’s the one thing ev­ery­one should try on a ski­ing hol­i­day?

Some­thing out of your com­fort zone, whether that’s hit­ting a jump or hir­ing a moun­tain guide to take you off­piste. You’ll learn that you can do more than you think. It sounds cheesy but it’s some­thing I re­dis­cover ev­ery time I ride a su­per-chal­leng­ing face.

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