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Arena Snow Skiing
By:  Kris Doyon   (2001/09/21)


When the Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get Going.

So you've trained well all summer and fall, but now it's November and there isn't a snowflake in sight. The race season has already started and you don't expect snow soon. To make matters worse it is cold enough that your pole tips don't stick in the pavement when you roller ski and your sick and tired of running.

Well the answer is right in front of you. You may have even thought of this yourself but passed the idea off as unrealistic. Well serious problems call for extreme measures. And what could be more serious than not having snow? The answer of course is Arena Snow Skiing. In this article I will try to describe some of my experiences with arena snow skiing as well as provide some tips so you too can end your snowless sorrow. Now you may think that this is all a little too crazy but it is also the answer for those tough athletes who refuse to let mother nature decide who can and can't ski.

I was first introduced to Arena Snow Skiing while racing for the University of Waterloo Ski Team. Waterloo Ontario has reasonable snow in the winter but snow tends to be lacking in fall when everybody else is dialing in their technique someplace in Alaska or Silver Star. Our solution was too spread out the Zambonie droppings from the campus arena in a 50-100m track with turn around spaces at either end. The track is set by hand pulling a track setter which would traditionally be pulled by a snowmobile. In this way a medium hard track can be set and perfect klister skiing is produced. Because the track is so short and boredom somewhat of a problem it is most beneficial to only use the track for technique work, while continuing with normal cardiovascular dryland training. Skiing without poles is also useful to slow the speed down and improve your technique. The ice shavings from the arena are pretty dense and an arena snow track can withstand 10°C with a daily dose of new snow. Rain and wind tend to be the downfall of such tracks though so plan your track building session with the forecast in mind.

Now some people may laugh at you while you ski but once you experience the benefits you\'ll not think it that foolish. Before the days of big budget European Ski programs champion skiers spent endless hours on hand built track from the little snow that fell near their home. In this case somebody is providing the snow for you!

At Waterloo we have even held sprint races! The track was formed into a loop so intensity workouts can be done by starting two evenly matched skiers at opposite sides of the loop and have them chase each other - something like a track pursuit in cycling.

So if you want to get a jump on early season technique get a few friend together, a wheelbarrel and some shovels; head down to your local hockey arena and prepare for perfect stride and glide the first time there is real snow on the local trails.

If you would like more information on building a arena snow ski track contact the UofW ski team.

Interesting Reading. . .
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