Ski Mountaineering | Skimo Crosstraining For Cyclists In The Winter

Ski Mountaineering | Skimo Crosstraining For Cyclists In The Winter


– In today’s video, we’re
going to learn how to do donuts in a parking lot in
a rental car with Tim Johnson. That’s actually not
what we’re going to do. My GCN colleagues over in the UK tend to make videos about
riding in the winter but every time I see one
I look at them and I think that is not the winter that I know. For many of us, riding in the winter means that we see un-ridable conditions and we have to get friendly
with the indoor trainer. But I’ve always been curious and thought there’s got to be a better way and I’ve known tons of pros over the years that have used cross
country skiing as a way to stay fit in the winter. But like everything,
there’s been an evolution, so I went up to visit
former pros Tim Johnson and Lyne Bessette to learn about a unique
way that they trained in the harsh winters of Quebec, Canada, doing something that I
didn’t even know existed called ski mountaineering,
or as they called it, ski-mo. All right TJ, welcome back. After our bromance when
we were out of Washington doing all that mud riding
and everything, super fun, it’s great to have you back. – [Tim] Hey, thank you for having me. – No thank you for having me. – Little different nowadays, isn’t it? – It is, it’s a little different yeah. – What changed? – So we’re doing ski-mo which
to me a couple weeks ago when I was looking at
different things to do for being out in the winter time, staying fit, this was one of the things
that you and I talked about, so we’re here now. – [Tim] We are. – [Jeremy] What the heck are we doing? What is ski-mo? – So, you know this is really my favorite winter activity. We are doing what is considered
the cyclo-cross of skiing with ski-mo. It’s really high intensity,
gives you a really good workout by climbing uphill you stay
warm on a day like today but then once you get to the top, you enjoy some of the best
parts of cyclo-cross which is going downhill on something that’s not meant to go downhill with. Basically, the wrong tool for the job, tiny little skis, they
don’t have great control but they’re super fun so that’s why it really matches up well, ski-mo and cross. (gentle music) – It’s faster than snowshoeing
and the better part is you get to downhill real fast. – Way more fun than snowshoeing. Come on that’s not even a comparison. (upbeat music) TJ it’s beautiful up here. – No I think, even when it’s this cold it’s still really nice up here. – Yeah, so we’re here
at your buddy’s place. – Yeah so my friend Dan,
he owns the velo cafe and he’s agreed to set you
up with skis, boots, poles, basically everything you
need to be able to do ski-mo. – I am excited and I
cannot wait to get in there because it is freezing out. They have coffee in there? – Yeah they do, lets go. (upbeat music) – All right so we’re here
at Velo endurance cafe in Quebec with Dan, one of
the owners of this shop. Dan tell us what is going
on with the equipment today. – [Dan] Well we’re going
to do our favorite sport, we call it the ski mountaineering, ski-mo. Here it’s been our sport for 15 years now so we’re going to bring the
friends, the cycling friends, up to our training land. So we’re going to use
like, what we call this, it’s kind of the road cycling of ski-mo so racing skis, super light,
like for the training freak and racing freak, those are the tools. And for the gravel bike
people in cyclo-cross like we have those guys here today, the skis to explore and
do all kind of adventure, they are a bit heavier, still quite light, but you can go everywhere in climbing, and also going down bigger
cliffs, jumps, around trees, so we’re going to have fun this afternoon. – I love it, thank you. You guys have set us up, you’ve fit me up, you’ve got shoes here,
you’ve got headwear, you’ve got pretty much
everything that I needed, you guys also do Nordic ski stuff as well. – Yeah exactly. – This is like, if Nordic
is the road racing, and then there’s like
gravel somewhere in there, this is definitely the
cyclo-cross gravel crowd. – I would say so and the advantage is you can discover a lot,
it’s a great training and the season is really
long because we can go in almost any kind of conditions. (upbeat music) – I feel like some sort of
a brachiosaurus right now. – Oh, excuse me. (Tim laughs) (upbeat music) – I’ve literally never,
ever done this before, I’ve never even Nordic ski’d before. – That’s why I’m so excited for today. So what we’re doing is we’re
taking a set of skis, boots and poles, it’s really the core
of what you need for today. – Yep. – These skis, if you want
to pick your foot up here and you show a little bit, these skis have a skin on the bottom which allows you to climb up the hill. That skin’ll allow us to go
uphill on a single track, basically just like a
mountain bike on skis, we’re going to climb up for a while and then when we descend
it’s fun and it’s fast. You’ve got very light boots,
you have very light bindings, you have boots that are specially prepared to allow you to climb uphill,
they’re very lightweight and they have a lot of flexibility. So as opposed to a
traditional alpine ski boot which weighs five pounds
and it’s very very stiff, you want it as stiff as possible, this kind of has a little
bit more flexibility. – Okay. – The poles are also different,
they’re adjustable in height so when you’re climbing you
get the best support you can for your arms, but when you’re descending
they’re short enough so that when you do a pole plant you feel like you’re on
a downhill ski setup. – Okay. – So, funny thing is you’ve got this great little water bottle holder here. – We’re at about zero degree
temperatures right now, it’s actually negative degrees. It not frozen yet? – Well the vodka isn’t frozen
yet so we’re good, it’s good. We’re going to have
something to drink later. This kind of speaks to the
athletic portion of ski-mo. When you’re climbing,
you have high heart rate, you know 170 beats a minute,
you’re cruising along so you’re going to want to
have your water close by. You also have a backpack
on for extra clothing, extra gloves, extra hat. I mean I think you’re
wearing almost everything that we’ve given you so far today. – Yeah. – But in case you need more it’s
going to be in your backpack. – Okay. So, we’re on our way, we’re
going to go into the trails which is like a single
track, cyclo-crossy, I’m scared, lets go. (Tim laughs) – Oh yeah, looking good buddy, keep it up. – At some point during this whole ordeal I realized that my legs were howling at me just like I was in a hard training effort, my heart rate was right around threshold and I was having flashbacks to
barely being able to hold on to Tim and Lyne’s wheels. Just today it’s not wheels, it’s skis. It’s cold but miraculously I was outside getting in a hard workout with friends just like if we were out
on a hard training ride. Okay so we met up here,
Lyne it’s great to see you. Thank you so much for
coming out with us today. If you guys don’t know,
Lyne is a two time olympian on the road bike, you also famously won the
Nommay, was it Nommay world cup? – [Lyne] It was Nommay, it was the first time it was a world cup. – [Jeremy] It’s now coming
back up again this year so that’s very exciting and cylco-cross, you did a
lot of this kind of stuff to stay fit in the winter time. Tell as about what you would do. – When I was training I
had to do other things because the first couple
years of my career I couldn’t really just go to
California and live there, you know? I mean I needed to make
money to be able to do that, or meet my husband, that was helpful. So I had to train at home in the winter and I used to do cross
country skiing a lot and I would ride my bike inside. The interval part I
would do it on the bike but all the long distance stuff I would either run or cross country and a couple years ago, no more than a couple, maybe five or six, I discover ski-mo, ski mountaineering. It’s a sport that’s very popular in Europe but we use it here because
it’s great training and it’s something different
that keeps us outside in the winter instead of riding
in our basement, you know? So I love it, and it’s something
that I’ve been doing a lot over the years. – I love it, I love it. We’re about 15 minutes
more of ski mountaineering to the top of the estate,
where the beautiful outlook. We’ll catch up with you there. (upbeat music) – [Lyne] It’s really
surprising what you can go up with that type of equipment, especially when you have really
wide skins and thicker skis. (Lyne laughs) I think there’s a bird in the woods. (upbeat music) – And so, you just beat me
up all the way up the hill. – Yeah, no problem. That was easy. – That was brutal. And now this looks very
treacherous going down but we’re going to come back out and we’re going to go down back towards. – A ski area, so one sec. You try to keep a hand on the ski, okay? – Okay. Yeah, so they won’t go away. – ’cause there’s no brakes on it. – I got it. – So you fold the skins, I
usually do thirds, in thirds. Take your time. It’s really easy but don’t force it. Yeah, you got it. – Okay. – Click your heel down. Yeah. – Hey. – Yeah, you got it. – Okay. – And then you finish this
with your safety little pin that you can put in here like that. – All right. – So that’s one. – Okay. – Then you got to– – We’ll get the other one. (upbeat music) – He’s so confident, I don’t
know if this is going to work. Okay, we’re watching
Jeremy come down the hill. He’s got amazing technique,
he’s doing great. He’s got to try and stop
before he gets to us but I really don’t think
it’s going to happen, he’s going to hit the ground. Yo, oh my god. Proven wrong once again,
incredible technique. He takes to this like
a duck takes to water. The happiest guy that skis I’ve ever seen on their first day. – All right so we’ve come
down, we’ve had our first run, we’re taking in, we’re getting a little
blood back in our fingers and now we’re going to go back
up, and to put this skin back on a latch there… – Yeah, right at the top. – And then kind of pull it down, and then get it, just give a little rub. – So you just want to make sure
it’s lined up on the edges. – Yep, it’s not. – So that you do a little bit at a time, make sure it’s lined up. – Yep. – All the way, usually
two thirds of the ski. – Okay. – And then pick it up off the ground, – Yep, kind of get it… – Yep, you can put it
against your waist, whatever. – Okay. – And then right at the very
tail end is the plastic piece. – Oh yeah, yeah, right. – [Tim] Right over the bottom
and then flick it, yep. Usually it’s sticky the whole way up. – Okay, not a perfect job
but I’ll make you redo it that way I’m good. (Tim laughs) – [Tim] Good start. – All right Tim so we
talked about the boots, we talked about all the
differences in boots, we talked about the skis,
the differences of skis, Dan was awesome over at Velo endurance, at being able to tell us about everything, lets talk about technique. We saw Lyne, who is
going out for another run so thank you Lyne for being on the show. – As usual. – She’s off, she’s wearing the skin suit which we’re going to talk
about clothing after this but like, tell me about technique. – [Tim] Cyclo-cross and ski-mo kind of remind me of each other because in cross just get it done, get over the barriers to figure out you can do it, and then refine the technique. – Sure. – So same thing with ski-mo. So refining technique in this case is trying to get uphill
as efficiently as possible and that goes to how you’re skiing, how you push the ski forward
rather than lifting your foot and placing it on the ground, and also it has to do with the poles. So as you’re poling, you
want to use it to keep your momentum going forward. You don’t want to try and
lift weights with your hands but you want them to be involved
in everything you’re doing. – Okay. So like, what I was doing
when we first got going, the pterodactyl, tyrannosaurus
rex thing that I had going on that wasn’t right. – Well, you know it’s
fine to start off with it’s not something you want to keep doing. – [Jeremy] Okay. Lyne went by here in a skin suit. – [Tim] Yeah. – [Jeremy] That was
scary for me ’cause it’s ruditorily negative degrees out. – [Tim] It’s very very cold. – [Jeremy] I’m wearing a ton of my GCN kit like I’m just wearing
cycling stuff under here. – So, you know as we talked about, when I first started doing this, I would just wear my bike clothing. I would dress like I was
going for a cold ride but I wouldn’t dress like
I was going to shovel snow in the driveway, I would go because I would get really hot. I would dress like I’m
going to get hot, so, go ahead, people can start off
wearing thermal base layer, thermal pants with thermal jackets on top so you are wearing your GCN kit. On any given day that’s not
zero degrees fahrenheit, for sure. You have one layer on your legs, bib tights, thermal bib tights. Upper body you have a nice wool undershirt to regulate your temperature. – Yep. – Long sleeve and maybe a
vest or a wind vest on top, and then, the helmets,
this is a ski-mo helmet specific for this sport but
you can use a bike helmet. – Sure. – You know, you want to make sure that you’ve got your neck warm,
you’ve got your head warm. Gloves, you know that it’s
unusual to see me wearing gloves. – Yeah. – Usually I would actually not wear gloves when I’m going uphill
really quickly but you know, because it is so cold I’ve
got big ones on here today. – Yeah, I got it, okay cool. All right we’ll head to the fall, lets go, lets go do another run and then lets get the heck
out of here, it’s freezing. – We got to, before it
gets too dark we got to go. – Okay. (gentle music) Dude that was an incredible
day out, I had so much fun– – Me too. …ski-mo’ing. We were talking before, people
are not just doing this here in Quebec or in New England, whatever, people are doing this worldwide, you were showing me
pictures, Romain Bardet, a bunch of like big pro riders are actually doing this stuff. – It’s big in Europe, it’s
big in France, Switzerland, I mean, some of the races have
thousands of people in it. What we did is just, we went
out for a ride together, it’s really fun. – Yeah, that was like a training session but people are doing these races like running in their ski
boots, putting their stuff on, it’s totally cyclo-crossing. – You did great out there,
I can’t wait to do it again. – Dude, there’s no way that
I would have been able to fat bike or do anything
because it was so cold today, this was truly the only
way really that I think I could have gotten
out, gotten in a workout where my heart was just pounding, and then it was just
so much fun to go down. I see what’s happening here. – Don’t tell anyone, whatever you do. – If you guys liked this video, definitely give us a thumbs up. Leave us a comment below if you
guys have done ski-mo before or what you do… – I want to hear it, I
want to hear it, tell me. – While it’s super cold out, I want to know what exercises
that you guys are into. You want to check out
other adventurous content, check that out down here and if you want to subscribe to GCN, click right in the center. Lets finish these coffees up
and get warm, I’m still cold. – Yeah me too.