One of the things on my list of goals for the year is trying new activities and sports. So when we planned our February ski vacation, I immediately made a mental note to check out cross-country skiing while there. Unfortunately, due to a variety of reasons that are interesting to no one, I didn’t get a chance to take a class until yesterday, the last day of our vacation. The upside of waiting until the last day was that it was a great way to end my time at the mountain.
I’ve been somewhat intrigued by cross country skiing for years now, glutton for exhaustion that I am. I love hard workouts and it seemed a nice way to enjoy ski areas without fear of running into a tree. Or at least not running into a tree at top speed.
I did not start downhill skiing until my 20’s, and I remember mentioning my interest in cross-country to my friends at the time. Based on their reactions, I may as well as have suggested taking up knitting. To the twenty-something downhill skier, cross-country was, if not for wimps, at least not for macho thrill seekers. Since my whole purpose in taking up skiing was primarily social – skiing was a passion for my new fiancé (now husband) and most of my friends skied – I gave up on the idea of cross-country skiing and learned downhill skiing instead.
Well, I got news for you twenty-something weekend warriors – cross-country skiing is by no means for wimps. You certainly will not be able to cross-country ski all day after a late night of après at The Pickle Barrel like you do when you alpine ski on weekend at Killington. I really like to downhill ski, but it requires only a fraction of the effort of cross-country skiing, especially since you get a nice long rest on the lift between runs.
The muscles in my nose may have been the only ones I did not use on my cross-country skiing jaunt yesterday. Everything from the neck down was used, and used heavily. What a freaking workout! I was in a beginner class, so we really did not push too hard and we also only skied for just under 2 hours, but even at that low level, I appreciated what fabulous exercise cross-country skiing is. I felt more exhausted from the 2 hours of cross-country skiing than I had from the entire week of downhill skiing.
Needless to say, the setting was perfect –woodsy, quiet, nice groomed trails. Softly falling snow, perfect temps. I think I would have loved it anyway, but the ideal conditions certainly didn’t hurt. I am so glad I got a chance to try it, and like so many things, only wish I hadn’t waited so long. I hope to be able to find some trails where I can cross-country ski closer to home.
Next up: snowshoeing! Saw some people doing that and it looked like fun, too. And since Punxsutawney Phil seems to have been delusional when he made his prediction on Feb 2, I just might have time to try it before winter signs off for 2013…