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Often, I get the question “Is alpine (downhill) skiing aerobicor is it all anaerobic?”

The answer depends on the skier, ability, type of runs skied and intensity of skiing. I’ll show you a file from a recent day of skiing. You can find it here.

I decided to carry my Garmin on this particular day of skiing. I did forget to start the unit early in the day, so I’m missing some data. I estimate I’m missing about 2062 elevation gain and 1125 elevation loss making the total loss 16,971 feet.

If I use my aerobic cycling zones, my estimated time in Zones 1-2 is roughly 1:10. The time I spent at Zone 3+ is some 10 to 20 minutes. I estimate actual skiing time (subtracting lift “moving” time out of total moving time of ~3 hours) to be around 2 hours. That leaves some 30 minutes just under Zone 1 low end.

The entire day’s outing was 5:50 (again estimating lost data). The lunch stop ended up being around 1:30 as I met some friends.

For me, it was a big day of skiing. It was my first day this season. Before lunch, on many of the runs I tried to ski a steady pace top to bottom with no (or minimal) stops. These runs were mostly aerobic.

When I went into bumpy terrain, I did stop more to recover from the higher intensity efforts.

On this day, with the type of skiing I did my effort while skiing was mostly aerobic. There were some anaerobic sections as well.


So the short answer to the question is, “both”.






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