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Squash Falconer's Ski Touring and Interval Training

Image for article Squash Falconer's Ski Touring and Interval Training

Squash Falconer is a record-breaking adventurer, speaker and presenter.

Combining her love of different sports, Squash was the first British woman to climb and paraglide from the summit of Mont Blanc having ridden there from the UK on her motorbike.

Not only has she summited Mount Everest, Squash holds claim to be the worlds highest ever bum boarder, a title she gained on Cho Oyu, the 6th highest mountain in the world.

In 2013 Squash completed a 3000mile journey on an ElliptiGO setting a new distance record for travel by Elliptical bicycle.

Using film and TV to share her adventures, Squash has self shot many of her trips and has received accolades for the short films she’s produced. Her latest and most exciting television project saw her riding thousands of miles through South America on her BMW GS 800 presenting her own adventure travel documentary.

Passionate about sharing her adventures, Squash has a unique and quirky outlook on life and firmly believes that with the right attitude every one of us can achieve incredible things.

Ski Touring

I love skiing and I love climbing mountains so looking back ski touring was such an obvious option for me. I have no idea why it took me so long to realise! I did a few short tours in the French Alps and I was hooked. I made it my business to do more and last year I jumped at the opportunity to ski tour in Norway.

I spent almost a week in the Hjorundfjorden area in Fjord Norway, which has become an increasingly popular place to do ski tour routes and having spent time there it’s easy to see why. Some have likened it to the Norwegian equivalent of the Haute Route.

The mountains there are steeper, sharper and the fjords in the near distance meant the setting was like no other. We covered around 10-15km a day, climbing peaks and descending to the fjords. The high point was a classic climb in Sunnmore, where we summited a 1564m peak called Slogen. 

After the summer and a six month break from touring, I was happy to see winter arrive and delighted that my new base in the French Alps meant that this season I would be doing plenty of ski touring. I moved to Tignes in December and I was planning on doing some epic tours and going on some amazing journeys with my skis and skins. What I hadn’t considered was that ski touring would actually become a staple part of my fitness routine and that it would in fact be shorter local tours several times a week that I have loved doing.

My training routine has seen a major overhaul in the past couple of years. I’ve been into sports all my life and as a keen mountaineer it was endurance training that I focused on. I would mostly run and cycle to keep fit. When training for a mountain I would hike long distances, with a pack on my back, with hills and at altitude where possible; always believing that the best way to train for something was to replicate the action I would be doing as closely as possible. I still believe that, but what I’ve learnt is I can drastically improve results if I mix that up with other training.

Welcome strength training into my life! Having never been a gym person or that interested in training indoors I was delighted to learn about interval training using my own body weight and free weights.

Sessions are varied, lasting 40-60mins but to give you an idea of how one might go:

A short run to warm up with high leg kicks, butt kicks and touching the ground.
A circuit of push-ups, squat thrusts, jumping jacks, skipping and dips.
More running, but this will be intervals, so intense 100m sprints mixed in with very steady jogs.
Core training – while lying on the ground with legs raised a series of flutter kicks, scissors and kick outs.
Some more bursts of intense running.
Sit ups! A mixture of normal ones, Russian twists and some while holding a random object if I can find one maybe from a near by wood – might be a log or a rock!
A plank for several minutes if I can bear it.
A final jog back to base and if possible some free weight training to finish off.

Since moving out to Tignes, when I’m not away working or travelling, I’ve settled into a great routine of strength training sessions one day with a ski tour the next and it’s been amazing (there are several rest days too!).
I’m lucky enough to be able to walk from my front door to the base of the ski slopes with my skis. I put on my skins and head straight up the steep red run and into the Sache Valley.

I skin up at a good pace for 1-2 hrs before heading back down. Initially this hadn’t been my idea of ski touring. To me ski touring was about going somewhere off the beaten track and ultimately about finding the best untouched powder. I still do that but my ‘training ski touring’ has offered me something a bit different. It’s wonderful for endurance, low impact, always beautiful and I love it.

I use my Suunto Ambit 3 Peak to keep track of my tours and watch my heart rate – which allows me to be a little more scientific and work at a specific level.

I’ve recently returned to Tignes after a month away working and there has been loads of snow, perfect for longer tours, so over the next few weeks I’m going to be doing just that. Someone recently planted the seed in my mind that a ski tour trip to Svalbard in June to ski the midnight sun would be a fantastic adventure – and whilst I’ve not confirmed it yet, I’m making sure that I’ll be ready to go… You know just in case!

For anyone who can ski and wants to ski tour, you can! A great way to start is to rent (or borrow) lightweight touring skis with touring bindings and skins and go for it. Start slowly, maybe just go up the piste, get the technique right and build up your endurance. See how it feels and take it from there. Once you start to head off the beaten track and always when you go off piste it’s good to be safe; take advice, don’t go alone, wear an avalanche bleep and carry a shovel and probe.

Read more about my Fjord Norway ski tour trip – Fjords glorious Fjords

To stay in touch or if you have any ski tour related questions (or just any questions!) you can contact me via my website or social media:

Facebook: SquashFalconer
Twitter: @squashfalconer
Instagram: squashfalconer



2 March 2016 by Salomon

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