Wednesday Workout: Crust Cruising with CU’s Petter Reistad

Gabby NaranjaApril 6, 2016
Petter Reistad (front), who recently finished his freshman season at the University of Colorado-Boulder, crust cruising in 2013 in Sognefjellet, Norway. (Courtesy photo)
Petter Reistad (front), who recently finished his freshman season at the University of Colorado-Boulder, crust cruising in 2013 in Sognefjellet, Norway. (Courtesy photo)

Itching for an excuse to say ‘Sayonara’ to scheduled skiing and ‘Hello’ to more impromptu spring-skiing experiences? Look no further as this week, FasterSkier provides an ideal Wednesday Workout for the nordic wanderer, courtesy of Petter Reistad of the University of Colorado-Boulder (CU).


Sunscreen, sunglasses and snow. When it comes to spring workouts, it’s not just the freeing feeling of skiing around in Ray-Bans and beach-like weather that makes crust skiing an essential workout for this time of year, it’s also the satisfaction that spontaneous skiing provides after a season of structured ski training.

Petter Reistad, coming off his freshman season a CU and an All-American in both races at this year’s NCAA Skiing Championships, says the best training plan for the spring is no plan at all.

“What I like about spring is that you can do what you want, you don’t have to follow a plan anymore,” said Reistad, a 21-year-old from Bærum, Norway, on the phone. “It’s really nice to, instead of following a trail for a 15 k loop, to just go and aim for a mountain. You can ski up [to the top] and then ski [back] downhill where ever you like.” 

For those lucky enough to have mountains and snow nearby, Reistad’s spring training regimen proposes a simple schedule: Pick a peak and send it.

Petter Reistad (r), taking advantage of the last bit of snow during a crust cruising trip in Skeikampen, Norway back in 2011. (Courtesy Photo)
Petter Reistad taking advantage of the last bit of snow during a crust-cruising trip in Skeikampen, Norway, back in 2011. (Courtesy photo)

“Going for a trip like that is a little bit more of an expedition, than just a normal workout,” Reistad said. “But nothing is like being free on skis and the spring crust gives you an awesome opportunity to do so.”

In terms of snow crust, the spring season also provides the cream of the crop. For Reistad, spending a few spring workouts trekking mountain tops on skis is not only about the novelty of blazing trails where none were before, but also experiencing some of the season’s premium crust-cruising moments.

The reason why [this workout] is also a good thing to do in the spring is that during the rest of the season, you have more snow and different cold kinds of snow,” he said. “But in the spring, colder temperatures up in the mountains [combined with] the snow heating up during the day, forms this really nice crust.”

While Reistad has done plenty of crust skiing in Norway, this year will mark his first adventure cruise on Colorado snow crust. Before making moves for the mountains, however, he plans to first catch up on schoolwork. Predicting that snow will stick around in the Rockies until mid-May, he and a few other CU teammates, including fellow Norwegian, Mads Strøm, who won both men’s nordic races at this year’s NCAA Championships, will set out for Crested Butte, Colo. 

“It has been a really good year,” Reistad said regarding his first year of college ski racing in the U.S. “I’ve been second in some races this year and I must say, it’s really good to have [Strøm] on the team. Having good teammates is important because you can both train with them and compete even harder with them … it is more fun when you give them something to think about during the race … and I would really like to beat [Strøm] once next season. That’s a goal for next year.”

Reistad will have that chance next ski season, during his sophomore year and Strøm’s senior year at CU. 

The Workout

– Start sometime early in the morning, 7 a.m. seems a solid choice, according to Reistad

– Spend an undetermined amount of time skiing snow crust

– Mid-workout, stick a bottle of soda in the snow for later

– Spend more undetermined amounts of time skiing snow crust

– Stop and enjoy a cold soda (if you can recall its original location)

– Re-apply sunscreen and spend a little more time crust cruising before the sun makes the snow too soft to ski on

Total Workout Time: Depends on when you start and how strong the sunshine is, but Reistad estimates 3-4 hours should do the trick

Reistad’s Crust-Cruising Checklist

In order to find freedom within the spring crust cruising workout, Reistad recommends shedding training schedules and sticking to the bare minimum. A few items he suggests as indispensable to a spring ski trip are listed below, followed by the workout itself. 

  1. Sunglasses and Sunscreen: Carrying cases of clothing is less of a priority for the CU skier when it comes to cruising snow crust. “I’m excited because you don’t need that much clothes as in the regular season because it’s just heating up so amazing in the spring,” Reistad said. “So sunglasses and sunscreen are the most important things [to pack] because you get so sunburnt.”
  2. Oranges and Chocolate: Not your average culinary combination, Reistad argues that the mixture of sweet and tangy makes for the most desired treat during a spring trip to the mountains. “In Norway, a very typical thing to eat around this time of year — Easter and spring — is oranges,” he said. “So I will pack some chocolate and some oranges. That’s just a great combo.”
  3. A Bottle of Coke: Share a soda on snow crust. Nothing is like a cold Coke on a trip like that,” Reistad said. “Make sure to make it cold in the snow in the middle of the trip before drinking it.” 
  4. A Camera Phone: For any cross-country skier looking to make the crust-cruise workout complete, Reistad also says shameless self-promotions on social media make the workout all the more worthwhile. “You should probably bring your phone, too, to make sure to Instagram the whole thing after,” he said. “A trip gets so much better when you can show it off to everyone.” 

(Ed. note: FasterSkier recommends having a phone with you at all times during workouts in the event of an emergency.)

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Gabby Naranja

Gabby Naranja considers herself a true Mainer, having grown up in the northern most part of the state playing hockey and roofing houses with her five brothers. She graduated from Bates College where she ran cross-country, track, and nordic skied. She spent this past winter in Europe and is currently in Montana enjoying all that the U.S. northwest has to offer.

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