SKI LOCAL: Find skating tracks near you at xcski.org, which lists nordic areas by state. Among them: Metro Boston's Weston Ski Track, with post-work skating until 9 p.m. MondayThursday (skiboston.com); and Colorado's Eldora Mountain Resort, with 25 miles of trails located in Nederland, an hour's drive from Denver (eldora.com).
GET FIT ON VACATION: Grooming is world-class, as is the New England scenery, at Jackson Ski Touring Center's 97 miles of trails through the White Mountain National Forest in New Hampshire (jacksonxc.org); double your money at Sun Valley, Idaho, which has two first-class nordic areas totaling 93 miles of trails, plus night skiing during the full moon (visitsunvalley.com).
World Cup racer and two–time Olympian Patrick Weaver shares his plan for achieving top fitness on a sane schedule. The 37–year–old is off the pro circuit, newly married, and running a business—in other words, he has to squeeze in his workouts just like you. Still, he won four ski marathons last winter using the following weekly regimen. Experts can jump on the complete plan right away; beginners should ease into the routine by starting with the modifications noted and building gradually as skills improve.
Day 1: Distance workout. Skate–ski one and a half to two and a half hours at a consistent pace on mixed terrain. Ski as fast as you can while still being able to maintain a conversation. Modification: Ski 45 minutes at a pace that allows you to maintain good form.
Day 2: Interval workout. Ski 15 minutes at a warm–up pace, finishing at the base of a hill. For four minutes, ski hard uphill at a race pace. Return downhill, recovering for four minutes. Repeat hill–climb intervals five times. Finish with a 15–minute cooldownski. Modification: Skip this day.
Day 3: Strength workout. Head to the gym for one hour of strength training. Weaver favors a routine heavy on core work, plus squats, pull–ups, and dips. Modification: None—skiing ability doesn't affect sit–ups.
Day 4: Repeat interval workout.Modification: Do two or three intervalson a gentle slope.
Day 5: Repeat distance workout.Modification: Skip this day.
Day 6: Repeat intervals during raceseason, strength workout before and after. Modification: Repeat distance workout.