Sunday, January 12, 2003

It was never like this on the Nordic Track

I tried cross-country skiing for the first time yesterday. I had been planning on snowboarding, but we haven't received any new snow in a while, and didn't feel like driving the 2 hours to one of the better resorts and paying close to $50 for bad snow. Instead, I could travel to the closer ski area and pay much less for rentals and a trail pass for a less crowded condition. And powder doesn't mean much for cross-country.

I went with my friends Chris and Jeff, both experienced cross-country skiers. I figured out how to get into the skiis (this took about 10 minutes) and then my frustration increased after the next 15 or so minutes, trying to climb the steep hill to get to the main trail. Once I got on level ground, however, I found it to be fun and not too hard. I would say it's about the same amount of work as hiking uphill, but requires a little more upper body effort. The first part of the trail was fairly flat with some very slight up and down slopes, and then we left the green (beginner) trails and headed uphill along the blue (intermediate) trails. Going uphill was a little more work than going flat, but not any more technically challenging. After about 90+ minutes we decided to turn around. "This is the fun part," said Jeff as he started coasting downhill. Not so fun for me, who hasn't been on any kind of skiis in 8 years, was never good at skiing back then, and cross-country skiis don't have the same edges as downhill, meaning that it's all the more difficult to brake. I spent the next hour slowly trying to snowplow down the mountain. At one point, I must have looked so scared and miserable and un-coordinated, that a woman skiing uphill stopped to give me some pointers. My fingers were freezing, my left knee was aching, my legs were tired, my toes were getting numb, and all I wanted was to be off the *&% skiis and in a warm lodge. I eventually made it back to the level trail with only a few falls and once I started actually skiing again I warmed up. Life looks much better when you can feel all of your appendages.

So I have survived the experience, a little sore, a little cranky with my friends, but frost bite and injury-free. Nothing that the post-ski bloomin' onion and 22 oz frosty beverage couldn't cure.


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