I am pleasantly surprised.
I thought for sure I would be typing with just a couple of fingers because I could barely raise my arms to the keyboard, and that was if I made it out of bed at all to hobble to the couch. However, I am only slightly stiff and feel pret-ty darn good!
The reason for all this apprehension was my first skate skiing lesson with my friend Nancy Anderson, aka Dear Valley blogger, at White Pine Touring.
It was a day made to be outside…blue sky, poofy white clouds, no wind and perfect snow. Our instructor Don was articulate, organized, patient and encouraging; a mild-mannered paleontologist during the week, on the weekends an avid skier with 25 years of skate-ski under his belt.
Don explained that this ski style evolved in the 1980’s from marathon classic cross-country ski races when after many miles the wax would wear off the bottoms of the skis. As there was little to no traction without wax, the skiers would leave one ski in the track, angle the other ski to set the edge and push off. This apparently lead to much controversy among classic-style racing purists and to solve the problem the skate-ski method became a separate sport, with slightly different equipment.
Don coached us through the basics and after our sixty minute lesson we were deemed ski-worthy and off we went to the 3K loop. The gently rolling golf course had a wide groomed trail with classic-style tracks on the outside edges and corduroy for the skate skis as the center “lane”. Skate skiing requires groomed snow; for breaking trail you need to get out the classics.
This loop was 3K of trying to remember to “glide”, admiring the form of other skiers, a few falls and many laughs. We had a respectable finish and the sweat running down my back was testimony to the total body workout of this sport. I was hooked.
Nancy and Claire were here!
We met seasoned skiers, newbies like us, ski-team members and a woman from DC who was here with her downhill-skiing hubby. This is a great sport to try if you are traveling with someone who downhills but you don’t, or you want a break from downhilling. White Pine can supply rental equipment and if you are a first-timer, a lesson is well worth it. If, like me, you now want your own equipment, you can always buy right off the shelf but you can get some fabulous deals at end of season sales and ski swaps. I personally love a sale.
Tired, happy and thirsty (next time we will pack water with us!) we returned to the car. The sky, the snow, the clean, cold air and time spent with a friend made this a day to remember. An ideal celebration.
Thank you, Nancy Anderson, Don and White Pine Touring!