The Long Distance Ski Championship

Wednesday Workout: Beach Skiing with the Bowdoin Nordic Team

Author: 
Rachel Perkins

Maine is Beach Skiing Paradise for Bowdoin College’s Ski Team. (Screenshot Youtube)

The workout this week comes from the head coach of the rising Bowdoin Ski Team, Nate Alsobrook. While it can certainly be beneficial to train at altitude or in the mountains, Alsobrook shows that the unexpected beaches of the Maine Coast can be equally well suited for preparation. This workout highlights looking outside the box to take advantage of the terrain you have access to. 

In our program, we are always looking for creative ways to use our surroundings for fun and productive training.  We don’t have a ton of mountains on the Maine Coast, but we have some gorgeous beaches – perfect for sand skiing intervals. Sand skiing feels surprisingly realistic – like skiing up a fairly steep hill.  On a flat beach with fine, damp sand (ideally when the tide’s going out) you can also get some decent glide.  It’s definitely a grind, so it’s best for high-intensity intervals.

Skiing on sand takes some getting used to; it’s easy to break into a run or bound, but with some focus, you can ski with proper technique (striding only – good luck trying to skate or double pole).  Wet sand is surprisingly gentle on the bases, but even so, you’ll want to use your rock skis.  Any skis will do, even skaters – you’ll have no trouble getting kick!

The team does this workout 2 or 3 times in the fall as a nice change of pace from running and rollerskiing.  It’s particularly useful in the lead-up to our on-snow Thanksgiving Camp – it helps our athletes get a feel for sliding on long skis before getting back on snow.

Here’s an overview of the workout:

  • 20 minute warm up run.

Our favorite beach is only accessible by a 2 mile run through the woods, which makes for a perfect warm up – skis in one hand, poles in the other, and boots in a backpack.

  • 1 x 3 minutes at a low threshold pace to complete the warmup and get a feel for the sand.
  • 4 – 5 x 3 – 4 minute intervals at 5k effort (90%+ of max HR).  Equal recovery time between intervals.
  • Jump in the ocean for a quick recovery swim, then pack up and jog 2o minutes back out.

Happy skiing!

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