Rob Hess mountain guide
Rob Hess, mountain guide

Mountain Fitness Tips: Be Professional

You may not be a pro skier or climber, but at least you can train like one. Mountain sports coach Rob Shaul and his students share how they prepare for the peaks.

Rob Hess mountain guide
Kim Havell

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Too many mountain athletes avoid gym training and “do their sport” for fitness. That's a mistake. Professional mountain athletes' most important equipment isn't their skis or climbing shoes, it's their bodies. Gym training shows respect for the mountain and your sport. —Coach Shaul

ATHLETE: Rob Hess, mountain guide

MA TRAINING: 6 years

SUCCESS STORY: Lead instructor, examiner, and discipline coordinator for the American Mountain Guides Association ski program; 2007 AMGA Guide of the Year; lead guide for Jackson Hole Mountain Resort and Teton Gravity Research.

Early in my career, I realized that if I were to achieve my goals as a mountain athlete, I could not simply rely on athleticism, youthful vigor and immersion in my sports. As a mentor, instructor and examiner for guide training and certification for the American Mountain Guides Association, we hold participants to a high physical and technical standard, and I need to be able to meet that standard myself. Working with MA on sport-specific training has allowed me to continue to keep up with the younger folks.

I recently had major hip surgery. In the months leading up to surgery, I trained hard, knowing that this would accelerate my return. With well thought-out programming, I have returned to far exceed the levels I was at in aggressive, high-level mountain guiding.