While out of running for 8 weeks to rehab my toe surgery (removed a neuroma that had plagued me for 8 years), I needed a creative way to train for the upcoming ski mountaineering season. The mountain running I’d been doing was such good preparation.... lots of long sustained climbs into higher elevations with thinner air (good training benefit).
My solution was found in Vertical Mountain Biking. Around my home I’ve found several good, long uphills. Sustained climbs of around 1-1.5 hours. On the bike they vary from long gradual cruisers (Red Earth creek-1 hour) to downright challenging granny gear intense climbs (Sulpher Mountain backside 1.5 hours). Closer to home is Skogan pass, a good 1.5 hour climb to the top and about 900vertical meters.
I tend to like the less intense climbs as they provide screaming high speed downhills with not as much technical braking (also good for skimo training).
Some of my other favorites include: Sunshine ski area access road (start from the highway for 1k vertical m); Nakiska ski area (cat track to the top. 1.5 hours); Norquay ski area.
However, after last weekend, there’s snow in them thar hills (Nov. 1) so it’s time to crank up the skiing!