This is my first post, so I'll briefly introduce myself. My name is Luca Zattoni, I'm an Italian freerider and extreme skier. I spend my winter in Monte Rosa and Monte Bianco and I have my "HQ" in Gressoney La Trinité. I ski there with some pretty crazy friends who are mountain lovers just like me but a few are also mountain guides.
Injuries early season
It's during early season that a lot of injuries happen because you are not in the best shape to start skiing as “badass” as you were used to. If you don't do a lot of sport or specific training during off season, you can't ask your body to be as prepared as it was last season. Obviously this could end badly for you and your season will end instead of starting.... That's why I never underestimate off-season physical preparation and I work very hard during summer to avoid injuries during early season.
What kind of exercise?
Surfing the net you can find infinite discussions about ski training and everyone has different ideas. That's because the art of skiing isn't the same for everyone. You can space from downhill skiing, to skitouring, to freeride, extreme skiing, monoskiing.... As those are different thing you will need a different preparation and you must also learn new abilities if you're passing from downhill skiing to freeride or mountaineering.
I don't want to arrogate the right to speak for everyone so I'll just report my specific training for freeride and extreme skiing. This works fine for me and maybe for someone else too. You will see that I don't just do some running or weight lifting but also rock and ice climbing, I follow seminars and tutorials and when possible I always ski with friends mountain guides or just with friends; remember that skiing alone is a bet on your life.
I have to say that I never stop training. Also during winter, when I'm home, I try to go to the gym to increase muscular mass and power in my legs.
Here is my summer program
Monday / Wednesday / Friday
Weight lifting at the gym
Dumbbell triceps and biceps
As you can see I put a lot of effort on weight lifting training, because this way you can easily become stronger and more powerful. That's really important to have the energy necessary to ski down. Furthermore I don't underestimate the upper body training because when I fall I usually fall really hard, so I need my muscles to absorb the impact without braking or dislocating anything. So it's not true that the upper body isn't relevant when skiing! Your upper body is your first defense against getting hurt or smashing your head into rocks, so it must be prepared properly! In my case it's also important when I have to climb: I need to carry heavy weights on my back, that's why I need strong arms, shoulders and back.
After EVERY workout I always do some stretching to relax ligaments, joints and tendons of my legs. This part of the training is very important in order to have flexy legs and avoid injuries!
Tuesday / Thursday / Week-end
Those days I focus on cardio and resistance training and I also try to improve my climbing skills on rock and ice. So on those days I run 40 minutes, cross country or mountain running. I never run on the streets because it's bad for the knees and it's flat; so there is no purpose doing that when you will have to skin and climb to reach the top of a summit. Running uphill makes your calves and thighs stronger and more resistant so when you starting skinning you will notice the benefit.
If I can't run I go to the gym and jump on the cyclette (unfortunately I crashed my MTB). I have noticed that nobody does the pre-set programs on the cyclette, that's a shame because they are very effective. I usually search for the hardest program and I sweat on that for 30 minutes, then when my legs are sore for the pain I choose an easier program and I cycle on that for 10 minutes. When you choose the program you'll be asked to choose also a difficulty level. I usually cycle on level 15, for the last 30 seconds I try to increase to the maximum level
Usually on week-ends I run or if possible I climb. Unfortunately I'm not that much of a climber... Currently my climbing level is 5c at max. This winter i'm going to start icefalls climbing, because it could often happen the necessity to climb ice to reach a summit.
Hope this program will work also for you and see you in the Alps!