Climbing up to the birthplace of extreme skiing—New Hampshire’s Tuckerman’s Ravine—was my way of closing out 2016. Nestled in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, on the back side of the East’s largest and deadliest mountain, Mount Washington, the 2.4-mile ascent doesn’t let up until you reach the shelter, nicknamed HoJo’s, at the base of the ravine. It’s anywhere from a 90-minute to two-and-a-half-hour trek depending on weather, fitness, and mindset. My friend Seth and I were handed a tough, but magical New Year’s Eve day: 20 inches of new snow and a deadline from our wives to get up and down before the kids were done with breakfast.
Seth and I only saw a handful of adventurers along the way—some with smiles on their faces, all a bit beaten by the mountain. We made a few stops, but pushed through tough sections and numb hands motivated by what we hoped to see at the top. When we finally emerged above treeline the view of Tuckerman’s melted the cold, the pain, and the burn we had endured. Our time of one hour and 37 minutes wasn’t too bad either. After a quick change of gear, a few photos, and the two-mile powdery ski down, all I could think of was wanting to go back up again. This day also unexpectedly set me up for my winter training. It gave me the goal to make it to HoJo’s in one hour and 20 minutes and then ski Tuckerman’s ravine when I return this April. In order to do so, I will regularly be incorporating the below two workouts—one for strength, one for cardio—into my training.
Repeating this circuit will build muscle endurance needed for repeated efforts such as in hiking and skiing. Add sets as you get stronger.
15 jump squats
30 mountain climbers
15 burpees with a push-up
15 tricep dips
20 single leg lunges (10 each side)
The goal here is to build endurance and mimic the steeps and flatter sections of a climb.
Ten minutes of easy rowing and then go five minutes medium, five minutes hard. Recover for three minutes and repeat two to four times, envisioning summiting the mountain as you approach the midsection of the last piece.