Q: Any suggestions, advice, or changes to keep in mind when training at 10,000 feet elevation?
A: Training at that elevation is very tricky. You’re correct in your assessment of speed and tempo efforts at elevation. With the lack of oxygen it is difficult to reach the same high tempo you may have been able to ski at sea level. We see that a lot with athletes coming from higher elevations. They are some of the most fit athletes, but lack the snap and speed to keep up at lower elevations.
The most important factor of high elevation ski training is heart rate. You must live by your heart rate monitor. It is exceedingly difficult to ski “easy” at that high of elevation. Do not leave level 1 during an easy work out, even if that means walking up the hills. It is very easy to overexert yourself and eventually overtrain at higher altitudes.
I would also capitalize on any time you may have at sea level (if you are able to ski at lower elevation). Make sure that you take that time to work on max speed and sprint skills. If you are looking for some snap, any time at a lower elevation would be a great time to focus on that kind of training.
Make sure you stay hydrated as well. Skiing at that elevation can dry you out significantly faster than at MN elevation.
It sounds like you live in a beautiful part of the country! I don’t want you to get down about training at elevation. I think you can see great results as long as you are very purposeful in your training. Wear your heart rate monitor at all times and stay hydrated!
PS: You may also want to read one of our earlier blog posts: