GAINcast Episode 217: At the apex (with Sasha Rearick)

Sasha Rearick is turning a corner in his career. After a decade as head U.S. men’s alpine coach and two decades with the federation, he’s starting a new job guiding on of the world’s top ski academies. He’s bringing with him all the experience and lessons he’s learned throughout his career and joins this week’s podcast to discuss the demands of skiing and his approach to preparing the world’s top skiers.

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Notes and quotes

Sasha Rearick is the alpine performance director at the Apex2100 International Ski Academy in France. Prior to that he worked at U.S. Ski & Snowboard in a variety of roles for 18 years, including most recently as head men’s development coach, and a decade as head coach of the men’s alpine team. He began his coaching career as a strength and conditioning side of the sport.

  • 0:00 – Introduction.
  • 5:00 – Rearick’s background: “It takes a tremendous amount of urgency to get the work done. And patience to let the work take effect.”
  • 10:30 – New role at Apex 2100.
  • 14:00 – Influences of Clive Woodward.
  • 16:30 – Perspectives transitioning from physical preparation to skills coach.
  • 19:15 – Influences from Per Lundstam and Andy Walsh: “You have to realize that all the types of training have benefits. They key is understanding what the benefit is. How will juggling improve performance? It might help an athlete if they need help with focus, but call it what it is. It is focus attention training. It’s not increasing power or strength.”
  • 23:30 – Living on the edge, taking risks, and addressing that off the snow: “We need to continually getting athletes to be willing to go outside their comfort zone. Create environments and vocabulary around that. It’s not really on the training side, but in the culture. People have to be comfortable to say they got scared.”
  • 26:30 – The balance of power, endurance, and speed in alpine training: “The elite have power, but at the younger age it is almost that the base aerobic capacity is more important. That is because you have to ski a lot to learn the skills. And you have to be efficient while you are skiing.”
  • 30:00 – Future of ski preparation: “A lot of it is how healthy you are able to stay healthy long term. When we look at being healthy it is that progressive overload from 12 years old all the way through.”
  • 34:00 – In-season preparation for alpine skiing.
  • 36:45 – Training to develop feeling and connect with your body.
  • 38:30 – Youth development: “Play lots of sports, but play with intensity. Do it at an intensity where you get a benefit of athletic development.”

To hear more about these topics you can listen to the full episode above. If you like what you hear on the GAINcast, don’t forget to give us a review and subscribe on iTunes.

Further reading

The following links were referenced in the podcast or provide some additional reading material on the topic:

  • Our monthly GAIN Master Class Series features speakers from all aspects of performance. We just announced the lineup for next season starting in July 2021 and opened up registration. You can learn more here.
  • The GAINcast is also sponsored by HMMR Media. Join HMMR Media to get access to a vast library of online training resources, video, articles, podcasts, and more.
  • You can follow Rearick on Instagram (@sasharearick) and learn more about Apex 2100 on their website, or follow them on Instagram (@apex2100).
  • We have had several other ski and snow sport guests on the GAINcast and HMMR Podcast in the past, including USSA High Performance Director Troy Taylor on GAINcast 44, a USSA roundtable on GAINcast 40, and ski academy founder Finn Gundersen on GAINcast 114. In addition, HMMR Podcast 222 looked at cross-country ski preparation with coach Tschana Schiller, HMMR Podcast 125 visited with USSA coach Tracy Fober, and HMMR Podcast 144 shared their setup for the 2018 Olympics.