In one of my many past lives, I taught alpine skiing. That was a loooooong time ago. When I got hooked on triathlon, I drifted away from alpine skiing. I’m not blaming triathlon for my lack of skiing, there were lots of reasons why I quit skiing.
First came the dry spell of skiing only once or twice per year. Then was the complete lack of downhill skiing for about 12 years (+/-). In the past three or so years, I did take up Nordic skiing. I still do more Nordic than Alpine skiing, but I’m getting the itch to do more Alpine skiing. Not only is it a blast, but I think it helps my mountain biking skills.
The same balance and weighting issues that are present in skiing are present in mountain biking. For examle, my right turns are weaker than left turns in both sports. I’ve done more skiing, both Alpine and Nordic, in the last couple of years and I’ve found that skiing helps my mountain biking. Nordic skiing does lend more to endurance than downhill skiing. However, alpine skiing helps with balance, skills, power development and the ability to pick a line down the mountain at high speed.
While I believe skiing helps my cycling in the off-season, it is not cycling. As the race season approaches, in order to be a better mountain bike rider – I need to ride the mountain bike. This training principle is known as the principle of specificity:
“The mode of training becomes more important, as event day approaches. Training that is specific to the sport becomes more important than generalized training. In other words, the specificity of training becomes more important.”