Basic Hut to Hut Ski Tour Training Plan - 8 Week


Scott Johnston & Steve House

All plans by this Coach


8 Weeks

Typical Week

3 Run, 2 Strength, 1 Walk, 1 Day Off

Longest Workout

2:30 hrs

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The Uphill Athlete 8 week Basic Hut to Hut Ski Tour Training Plan is the minimal training we recommend for skiers bound for a moderate multi-day hut trip and or ski traverse like the Wapta traverse in Canada or the Oertler in Italy. For fitter skiers or those with higher aspirations for bigger trips like the Haute Route please consider the Advanced Hut to Hut plan. The Basic plan assumes that you have no strength training background and need to build fitness up to enable multi hour tours. This plan is ideal for ski tourers who have never engaged in an organized training program or who have not done so for a long time. It also is meant for those without access to snow on a daily or even weekly basis. It starts at 7 hours/week and builds to 10 hours/ week and includes a lot of vertical elevation gain and loss. While there are options for the use of machines like a stairmaster or steeply inclined treadmills the ideal training will take place on big hills out doors, preferably skiing at least 1-2 days/week but many of the mid week workouts will allow you to do dry land training when skiing is not an option.

This plan is based on scientifically sound training principles and a combined thirty years of professional endurance coaching experience and sixty years of world-wide skiing, climbing and mountaineering experience. In order to complete this plan it is important to keep a few concepts in mind: Rest when you are tired. If you miss a workout do not try to make it up. Move on to the next day. If you miss more than two workouts in any given week, then repeat that week.

For those with more time to prepare and higher aspirations we strongly recommend using our 16 week Ski Mo plan. Following this longer program will give the athlete a chance to utilize a more advanced and effective periodization schedule.

The plan starts with a self-administered Aerobic Threshold assessment test. From this you will establish the training intensity limit for most of the aerobic base training that will dominate your training. This plan also include a simple, easy-to-apply strength program to develop what is called strength reserve, the ability to repeatedly execute strength-dependent movements such as taking a step while wearing a heavy backpack.

During the last 4 weeks we introduce more intensity into the aerobic workouts in the form of weighted uphill hikes. Do not increase the intensity of the other aerobic workouts and hope to gain more benefits or to squeeze a 1 hour workout into 30 minutes. There is no short cut when it comes to aerobic adaptation.

For the very complete discussion of the concepts put to work in this plan, please refer to our 464-page book, "Training for the New Alpinism" published by Patagonia Books. For specific questions about this training plan, or to send us your success story and be featured on our website email us at Thank you your interest in our training plans. To be sure you are satisfied with your purchase, please leave your email during the checkout process so we can contact you

Thanks for becoming an #uphillathlete

Steve House and Scott Johnston


Training Load By Week
Average Weekly Breakdown
Average Weekly Training Hours: 08:31
Training Load By Week
Average Weekly Training Hours: 08:31
Average Weekly Breakdown

Uphill Athlete by Steve House and Scott Johnston

Uphill Athlete LLC.

What originally inspired us to write Training for the New Alpinism, and what inspires us to continue to share the things we’ve discovered through, is the information void when it comes to specialized training for endurance mountain sports. We have successfully demonstrated a more systematic approach, using proven principles, to help you improve both your chances of achieving your goals, and your long-term fitness and safety in whatever mountain sport you are practicing.

Back to Plan Details

Sample Day 1

Aerobic Threshold Test for Zone 1 and 2 determination

If you are careful and diligent you can do your own test using Training Peaks Premium edition. 
Thats what we are going to explain now. Read this article to understand this test better.

This test can be done on either on a treadmill, stair machine or a flat to very gentle loop course outdoors.  It can not be done on an uphill/downhill out and back course.

1) TREADMILL: Set treadmill to 10% and begin hiking slowly. If training for flatter runs set treadmill to 3% and run. Gradually build speed over the first 10-15 min until HR stabilizes at what you FEEL is an easy aerobic effort. If you have a good idea of what your Aerobic Threshold HR is then target that HR for the beginning of the test. NOW YOU ARE RADY TO BEGIN THE TEST.

NOTE: If hiking you may need to use a steeper grade (10%+) in order to get you HR up sufficiently.

Once that speed and grade is dialed in do not adjust speed or grade again during the test. Run or hike continuously for 60 min at this speed. Record HR and upload to TP

TREADMILL CALCULATION: Since GPS does not work indoors the pace part of the Pa:Hr will not be accurate so you can not use the TP Pa:Hr metric on a treadmill. That's why is so important that you hold the pace and grade constant once you start this test on treadmill. It is very likely that you will see an upward trend in the HR over the course of the hour. To calculate HR drift you need to select the first half of the test in the graph of HR/Pace?elevation. Note the avg HR for each half. Compare those to see if avg HR rose more than 5%

2) OUTDOORS: Run, preferably on a flat (or very gently rolling) course, at what feels like an easy aerobic pace. Once your HR stabilizes start the recording feature on your GPS enabled HR monitor watch. Record for one hour while you do your best to keep the HR as close to that initial HR number. Upload the data to TP.

If the Pa:Hr is greater than 5% your initial HR/pace was above your Aerobic Threshold and you should do the test again at a lower HR. This may take several attempts to find a Pa:Hr decoupling of less that 5%.

Once you determine your AeT HR set that as the top of your Zone 2 in your Training Peaks Zones. Subtract 10% from this and set that as the top of your Zone 1.

Sample Day 2

Core and Gen. Strength

1x core routine and 1x general strength from Training for the New Alpinist book.

Sample Day 3


Run/hike on hilly terrain.

Sample Day 4

Recovery Run/Jog/Walk

This should be an easy run on flats. Be well below AeT even if this means walking

Sample Day 5

Core and Gen. Strength

1x core routine and 1x general strength from Training for the New Alpinist book. For details on these routines see the attachments in week 1.

Sample Day 6

Aerobic Threshold Run

Aerobic Threshold Run. Run/jog/walk at a pace you can maintain while breathing through your nose (assuming your nose is clear)

Sample Day 7

Hike on Hilly Terrain

Run/Hike on hilly terrain, vertical gain minimum of 1,000 ft.

If you train outside the duration of the workout should be total time out. That includes the time both up and down. For example: A workout with a 2hr duration would be the total time from start to finish. This also includes if you are hiking up stairs in a building and back down. If you take the elevator down seen description below.

If you are using an alternative methods like a treadmill, stair master or hiking stairs(taking elevator down) the duration of the workout would be for the time hiking uphill. If you have a 2hr duration workout that would mean hiking on a treadmill for 2hrs.

Basic Hut to Hut Ski Tour Training Plan - 8 Week

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