Nordic track

Up to 50 kilometers of groomed cross country ski trails… 13 minutes from my house. What am I waiting for?

I grew up in the suburbs of northern Virginia. One year we got 3 feet of snow and it was amazing, though most often we got skiffs and dustings every few years. I built a snowman once and that was very cool. I went to college in Utah where there was lots of snow. There were even mountains to ski on, but I spent all my spare money on sheet film for 4×5 cameras and my spare time developing it in the darkroom.

What I’m trying to say is that I never really learned to ski. I did go up a chair lift and down a mountain a couple of times in one day, but it was without instruction and rather more terrifying than exhilarating. (The foolish things we do on dates….) And I tagged along with my siblings-in-law a couple of times, pretending to know what to do on long, thin cross country skis in Green Canyon, Utah, but mostly I found excuses to stay home when they ventured out.

I identify with my Norwegian heritage to a substantial degree and yet this missing skill has weighed on me, taunting me with the challenge: when are you going to start skiing like a real Scandinavian? Ouch. You mean the sweaters, the language, and the heart-shaped waffles aren’t enough?

This year, we signed up our daughters (8 and 12) for the local Bill Koch cross country ski league, for which it made financial sense to buy a family season pass at the Middlebury College Rikert Nordic Center. I took a couple of turns taking them to their Saturday practices and managed to get in on a parents’ clinic while the kids were out on the trails. Chas was a great instructor and gave us the introductory mechanics and basic skills to get started. Next I needed practice… and snow.

It hasn’t been a great snow year, to put it mildly. Downhill skiing has had enough- or at least decent snow-making weather- but the nordic trails in central Vermont have had only a few decent periods of snow cover. However, I was determined to make good use of both my pass and the instruction I received, so I tried to go when the snow coincided with my 2 days off each week (i.e. when the youngest was at preschool). I’m up to three times so far. Nothing grand, but, hey, I’ll take it!

In fact, Tuesday’s weather was so good, I brought my camera with me and went farther on the trail than ever before. Certain muscles complained loudly the next day but it doesn’t matter. I’m hooked. I’m looking forward to another good tour tomorrow.

Next year: alpine skiing.

Let it snow!

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The rest of the pictures are on flickr.

3 thoughts on “Nordic track

  1. Sounds fabulous. I’ve never learned to properly cross-country ski, but there are few things I enjoy more. Not being an adrenaline junkie myself, I find it just the right amount of thrill.

  2. Awesome! I wish I enjoyed doing something in the cold. I much prefer looking out the window and drinking hot chocolate. I see that the first rule involves maintaining control of your speed and direction at all times–that would definitely not work for me.

  3. Pingback: Ut på ski | Thirty Marens Agree

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