Off-season in the mountains is not so "traditional" we like to keep it fun, and often find ourselves doing the gear swap, picking up new disciplines every year in preparation for the next thing. It's all about finding a healthy balance. To avoid burn out of the endless grind... We suggest picking up another sport and create separation to reset, recharge, swap, and repeat; a revitalizing ritual our mountain lifecycle provides.
Strafe recently caught up with one of our young guns, George Beck and asked a few questions about how he views and approaches off-season cross training. We hope this interview inspires and pushes you to get out there and enjoy the rest this season has to offer!
Update: In the Leadville 100, after riding very well and fast and staying in the top 30 overall at the 40 mile split, George was unable to consume any calories during the race and had to pull out at mile 70. We applaud George for the effort and look forward to following his next race!
Strafe (S): What do you compete in and what are you currently training for?
George Beck (G): I compete in both Ski Mountaineering (Skimo) and Mountain Biking depending on the season. This summer I have been training for the Leadville Trail 100 MTB. I am really excited. This past winter I was training to compete in Skimo world cups and world championships but was unable to travel to Europe due to Covid. This coming winter I don’t have any specific plans as of yet, but I will continue to train to hopefully compete in Europe again.
S: What are some recent highlights or results?
G: This past winter my highlight race was Power of Four, it is an amazing event. As an Aspen local it is really great to see how the race highlights all of the best skinning and skiing the valley has to offer.
This summer I have been having lots of fun exploring around the Roaring Fork Valley and other towns in Colorado by bike. Last month I went over to Crested Butte for a week of riding, it was incredible.
S: What are your go-to off-season cross training activities? What do you focus on in each activity?
G: Fortunately for me, my love of skiing and biking makes it so that I never really have a traditional off-season. When the snow melts in the spring, I bring out the bikes, and vice versa. Rather than thinking of summer as an off-season, for me, it’s a time to enjoy the mountains from a different perspective.
S: What benefit(s) do you see in cross training? How do your other sport(s) help you prepare for the ski season?
G: Cross-training for me is a way of staying motivated and having fun. The amount of fun I am having in training and races is the most important thing for me, and there is a direct connection between that and results. Spending time riding my bike in the summer gives me time to regain my appreciation for winter while still building fitness.
"The amount of fun I am having in training and races is the most important thing for me, and there is a direct connection between that and results."
S: What would you say has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced during the off-season? How do you stay motivated?
G: In all honesty, the off-seasons are the reason I am able to stay motivated for racing in both skiing and mountain biking. My biggest motivation struggles come mid-season, most of the time after a big race. But being in the position where I have two sports allows me to focus all of my energy on one at a time. Having months at a time where I don’t think about my other sport allows me to mentally reset, and is a big part of my racing success.
S: What's your go-to food or snack for training and recovery?
G: I love the new Skratch Crispy Rice Cakes.
S: What is your favorite Strafe gear that you use all year round?
G: The Deception Alpha Anorak is the best jacket on the planet. It’s a perfect mid-layer in the winter for skiing. I love it for the early morning bike race starts in the summer. And most importantly it looks great. I wear it around town and to school almost every day.
S: What's next, personally and competitively?
G: I start school at Colorado College this fall. I can’t wait for this new chapter in my life to begin. I plan to focus heavily on school, but I will continue to train both on the bike and on skis. As for racing, after Leadville, I have no big short-term goals. I will continue to follow my athletic passions and see where it takes me.
S: Skimo just got added to the Olympics for 2026. It seems like a long way off, but is that something you are thinking about?
G: Skimo being added to the Olympics is incredibly exciting. I believe that the Olympics will vastly increase the popularity of the sport, and will help it develop a huge amount here in the US. I hope that Olympic status will encourage more resorts to adopt progressive uphill policy like that of Aspen Snowmass, so that athletes from around the US will have the opportunity to push the limits of Skimo. I know the future of the sport is bright.
S: Any other tidbits you'd like to share?
G: Ski fast, take chances.