Saturday, January 17, 2009

Cross-Country Skiing is Fun!

In college, Forrest and I went downhill skiing... once. I quickly discovered that I disliked the adrenaline produced from zooming downhill with minimal confidence in my ability to recover if anything went wrong. So Forrest has been angling for some cross-country skiing instead. This weekend, we finally made it up to the snow!

Jerry came along with us. Neither he nor I had ever been cross-country skiing before*, so we signed up for the beginner's lesson. We meant to get there in time for the 10:30 lesson, but we took too long at the grocery store getting supplies and wandering around looking for a gas station, so we missed the lesson. We mentioned this to the lady doing registration, and she hooked us up with Betty, one of the instructors, to do a private lesson for us at 11. Very awesome, since we were only charged the standard rate.

Cross-country skiing was much easier than I was expecting! Granted, this is probably in large part because we were learning on groomed trails with convenient little ruts to guide the skis. Even so, I had a lot of fun figuring out the right amount of effort vs glide.

I only fell down 3 times, and all those were within a 5-minute window until I figured out that looking backward while moving made me fall. At which point I stopped doing that, and I didn't fall any more. Jerry can't say the same, falling a total of 18 times throughout the day. But his center of gravity's higher than mine, and his skis were longer and more difficult to deal with, so he's got some good excuses. Forrest fell too, so no one was immune.

After our hour-long lesson, we tracked down Forrest, ate a light lunch, and headed back out on the trail. The only green (aka easy) trail we could get to was the Cold Creek trail, since the lifts up to the upper trails were taken out during a recent avalanche. Including the lesson, we probably skiied about 4km, or 2.5 miles. Not to shabby for our first day, eh?

Not quite true: When I was a kid, my family once went cross-country skiing in the Sierras. But my memories are very dim and mainly involve patches of thin, muddy, half-melted snow. Those memories do not even vaguely resemble the thick, well-groomed trails I skied on today. So I don't think it really counts.