Mountain Bike Your Way into Shape for Skiing and Snowboarding

Mountain biking is a great way to enjoy your local ski and snowboard hill long after the snow is gone – and it keeps you in shape for hitting the hill when winter returns.

Here, PSIA Alpine Team member Kevin Jordan shares his top tips for two-wheeled adventures.

Q: What’s your go-to offseason workout or outdoor sport, and why is it what you like to do?

A: Dirt is the new snow! In the summer, I coach mountain biking. I love the sense that I get on the bike when I’m traveling over different types of terrain. It’s fun to “clean” a section of trail that you may have struggled on before. It’s a lot like skiing and picking different lines while you’re riding.

Q: Do you teach or compete in this sport, or has it led to any great adventures around the world?

A: I had the opportunity to bike around Whistler, British Columbia, last year, and the amount of access in that part of the world blew my mind! I have ridden in cool places like Sedona, Arizona; Mountain Creek, New Jersey; Highland Mountain Bike Park, New Hampshire; and of course, there is my home – Snowmass Bike Park and the Roaring Fork Valley has some amazing riding. There is great riding all around the country. The one place that’s on my wish list next is Bentonville, Arkansas.

Q: How does this sport help you set, train for, and reach new goals?

A: There are a couple of mountain bike certification organizations out there. I’m most familiar with PMBIA (Professional Mountain Bike Instructors’ Association). There are four levels of certification, and in 2022, I passed my Level 3 certification. The training was similar to snowsports certification. I studied course materials, watched videos, wrote lesson plans, and worked on my skills.

Q: What can you take away from the workout/summer sport that can be applied to your work on snow?

A: PMBIA uses something called a “Training Wheel” when presenting lesson content or information to the student. There are four parts:

  1. Practice: 60%
  2. Feedback: 20%
  3. Explanation: 10%
  4. Demonstration: 10%

I often think about this in the winter and how practice drives the learning. Also, there can be multiple “training wheels” in lessons or segments of lessons. It’s cyclical.

Q: How does the workout prepare you mentally for your work on snow?

A: I use trail scanning in the summer when I’m on my bike. This is when I’m constantly collecting information between something PMBIA calls the “now” and the “next.”

The “now” is about one to two seconds in front of your front tire and the “next” is about three to six seconds in front of your front tire. In other words, the “now” is what I’m doing, and the “next” is what I’m about to do. As I go faster, these blend together.

I’ve found that the faster I ski, the more I have the ability to take in my surroundings because I have practiced my trail scanning in the summer. I’m able to wave or say hi to someone on the chairlift, while still skiing moguls at a good clip. I attribute this to my mental prep of trail scanning in the summer and continuing it in the winter.