Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Something Different This Winter

Heading up Cub Creek in the Rendezvous
This winter I'm trying something new: a little sport called Nordic skiing. Since I've now lived in cross country heaven with over 100 miles of perfectly groomed, connecting ski trails for almost five years, I figured it was time to take the plunge and put running on the back burner for a few months and start the long process of learning to Nordic ski. Two things come to mind as I write this: why did I wait so long; and running does not require upper limb strength.

So far I'm having so much fun, and while I don't like being bad at something, the silver lining of starting with virtually no technique is that I can only improve in terms of my efficiency and strength.
Nikki waiting for me...again.

MVSTA does an amazing job grooming, with  many ski trails having been open with a great tracks for a couple of weeks.  Luckily for Nikki, dogs are allowed on those particular trails, so she's already had several nice, long, skis. 

Sam and his mom, during our dusk outing.
We got our first big dump of snow over the weekend which opened up the trails right by our place and made current conditions perfect. During the storm we went classic skiing, which I really love, as it is much more like running, albeit more difficult. The Mazama Store had their annual open house, so it was perfect timing for us to ski, then head inside to sample their tasty treats and socialize a bit.

Looking toward Goat Peak, with Goat Wall in the foreground.

Today we awoke to crystal clear, cold skies. The snow was slower, but it offered a good opportunity to hone in on my skating technique, with the help of my model skier of a husband. Due to work, we couldn't go until the afternoon, so we ended up skiing quite a bit in the shade, but had some lovely views of sun. Skating doesn't come quite as naturally to me, but each time I go, a couple of things click. Hopefully, by the Women's Ski and Yoga Retreat I'll be able to hold my own. And by the end of the year-look out! Even before then, however, I feel it my duty as both a coach and an event organizer who encourages others to try races for the fun of it, to take my own advice and jump into a race. So, I plan to pull up the rear at this year's Ski Rodeo and the MV Pursuit, then have my trusty Husky pull us to victory at the Nordic Club's Doggie Dash.

Because Nikki isn't allowed on the trails in Mazama and I like to get off the beaten path sometimes, I added some backcountry touring skis to my quiver. They have metal edges, but have fish scales so I can go pretty much where my heart desires. I tested them out on Saturday behind the Freestone Inn. It was before we had a lot of snow, so it was a little tricky under the trees, and quite painful when I fell on a rock. Nevertheless, it was fun to get out. Once we have a bit more of a base, they will be awesome for getting in some long adventures.

To be sure, I still have my running shoes next to the door, and once there is grooming from the Sno-Parks I'll run on the Forest Service roads, but it feels really good both mentally and physically to mix things up a bit.  There's another storm warning for tonight and now that I'm into this skiing thing, I couldn't be happier. Let it snow!

A certain dog gets pretty excited

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