In the winter of 2014, Steve House teamed up with Kilian Jornet, one of the world’s most accomplished endurance athletes, to ski the San Joaquin Couloir near Telluride. Over breakfast after, the concept for a first-of-its-kind training book was born.

Training for the Uphill Athlete: A Manual for Mountain Runners and Ski Mountaineers (Patagonia, March 12, 2019, paperback) is a collaboration of three top mountain athletes and coaches: Jornet, the six-time champion of the long-distance running Skyrunner World Series and Fastest Known Time holder for the ascent and descent of Matterhorn, Mont Blanc, Denali and Everest, House, a world-class alpinist and mountain guide, and his coach Scott Johnston, an Olympic level cross-country ski coach. Jornet read House and Johnston’s popular book Training for the New Alpinism (Patagonia, 2014, 50k+ copies sold) and raised the need for a training manual specifically designed for non-climbing mountain athletes.

“The final result: my climbing-training journey and Scott’s 30-plus years of athletic and coaching experience, combined with the insights from Kílian and his years in the snow and on the trail,” says House. “Everything we learned in writing Training for the New Alpinism, and all we continue to learn writing training plans, coaching climbers, coaching skimo racers, and coaching mountain runners—it is in your hands.”

Aside from elite racers with their own professional coaches, athletes joining the growing fields of ski mountaineering, skimo racing and mountain running don’t have a sport-specific dedicated training resource, and typically borrow training philosophies from other disciplines instead.

Training for the Uphill Athlete is the first book to coach participants of skimo, ski mountaineering and mountain running (at all experience levels) to their fitness and competition goals using a self-guided, customizable training plan.

Jornet, House and Johnston present training principles steeped in decades of experience and knowledge on the science and methodology of endurance training. Since mountain running, skimo and ski mountaineering place similar demands on the body, coupled with the complementary cross-training nature of skiing and running, it was only natural to combine them into one book.

“Training for the Uphill Athlete offers ironclad, deliberate, science-based methodology that any athlete  can hang their hat on,” says Nikki LaRochelle, Member of the U.S. Ski Mountaineering Team. “For the serious mountain runner or ski mountaineer, this book is a must.”

This authoritative but accessible training manual offers zero short cuts and no “get fit quick” promises; just training advice derived from science-based and athlete-tested wisdom.

“This book is a carefully selected blend of information aimed at empowering you to make informed decisions using a proven structure of established knowledge,” says House. “We know this works because everything in this book is what Scott, Kílian, and I each have lived—from being world-class athletes to becoming world-class coaches and moderators of a top online training resource.”

Photos and personal stories from top uphill athletes both inspire and bring the principles to life, alongside informative graphs and charts that illustrate the training concepts.

Training for the Uphill Athlete covers:

  • Section One, The Physiological Basis of Endurance Training, provides the framework and a scientific basis for the authors’ training philosophy: “You will never maximize your endurance potential without first maximizing your basic aerobic capacity.”
  • Section 2, The Methodology of Endurance Training, lays out the tools for becoming a better athlete or coach. The range of topics is broad, from the methodologies of endurance training to monitoring your training and application.
  • Section 3, Strength Training for The Uphill Athlete, demystifies strength as it applies to endurance athletes as opposed to weight lifters.
  • Section 4, How to Train, covers ways to categorize, design, and structure workouts as well as how to mix them to best meet your goals.
  • Section 5, Planning Your Training, gives several sample plans to use for guidance or directly apply to your training.

Kílian Jornet (www.kilianjornet.cat) is a professional sky runner, trail runner, ski mountaineer and long-distance runner. He is a six-time champion of the long-distance running Skyrunner World Series and has won some of the most prestigious ultramarathons, including the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc, Grand Raid, the Western States Endurance Run and the Hardrock Hundred Mile Endurance Run. Jornet holds the fastest known time for the ascent and descent of Matterhorn, Mont Blanc, Denali and Everest.

Steve House (www.stevehouse.net) is a world-renowned climber, mountain guide, and Patagonia Ambassador, widely regarded for his light-and-fast style. He has published articles in a number of periodicals, and he is the author of Beyond the Mountain (Patagonia Books, 2009) and co-author of Training for the New Alpinism (Patagonia, 2014) with Scott Johnston. He lives in Ridgway, CO.

Scott Johnston (www.uphillathlete.com), who grew up in Boulder, CO, has ski raced on a national and international level and is an avid climber. He currently coaches several of the nation’s top cross-country skiers, and climbs, establishing local climbing routes in and around his home town of Mazama, WA, in the North Cascades, where he lives. He is the co-author of Training for the New Alpinism (Patagonia, 2014) with SteveHouse.