So That's Why They Call It Cross-Country Skiing

Wednesday, December 23, 2009
The Shack is located in a cross-country skiing mecca. As luck would have it, I did not grow up skiing. Sure, I went downhill skiing once as a tween on the free day that marks local ski resort’s the last day of the season. Occasionally I’d strap on my mother’s old cross-country skis and tootle around on the trails behind our house, but the skis’ clamps were unreliable and the skis tended to disengage from my boots at awkward moments like when I was going downhill. In the end, I decided to stick with hockey and snowshoeing for winter activities.

Now that a ski trail starts literally 30 feet from my front door it seems foolhardy to consider the book closed on me and cross-country skiing. On Monday evening, I strapped on my first pair of skis in a decade and went for a nighttime ski with Andy. I remembered being rather good at downhill skiing and I expected my experience skating would make the gliding motion of cross-country skiing second nature for me. I cruised down the first hill, pushed off with one ski and moved forward about six inches.You know what happens when hubris enters the picture: gods fall.

“Now I know why they call it cross-country skiing,” I griped as I huffed up a piddly little hill. “Because it makes you cross.”

Despite my self-proclaimed “horrible time” skiing on Monday, Andy and I went out against last night. It went much better. I may not be headed to the Birkebeiner anytime soon, but I can hold my own pushing and gliding now.

Andy has more experience skiing than I do, but he remains notorious for being able to instantaneously go from standing still in his skis straight to being splayed out in the snow. He doesn’t just tip over either: he’ll crash onto his back or break his fall with his nose. Because Andy realizes this about himself, when he’s skiing he tends to take the hills pretty slowly. I like the hills. I can distribute my weight and balance in a way similar to skating. And I like the feeling of air rushing past my face. I really like how it feels when you stop and find yourself still standing.

Last night, bolstered by my improving skiing ability, I decided I didn’t have to putz about on the hill Andy was delicately snowplowing down. I curled in my body and went for it. It was going well until I decided to steer around Andy. Straight down into the snow I went, my headlamp twisting around so the bulb was now on top of my ear and shining up at the stars, my bare hand crumples at the side of a classic ski track, all the snot in my head making a wooshing exit from my nose. Suffice it to say, my body aches is all sorts of strange places today.

Nearly Christmas! I just made simple syrup infused with rosemary springs to use for Rosemary Gin Fizz drinks at tomorrow night’s Christmas Eve gathering. It smells lovely and I’m hoping it will also taste lovely and not just be a bit of taste bud gymnastics.

A huge blizzard is making its way across the Dakotas and straight for us. That may alter Christmas plans a bit. But we can’t really do anything about that other than hunker down and see.

Finished up an essay and got it ready to send off. Still no word from work: frustrating! Time to look into different winter employment options; I wish this would have come up a month ago. *sigh*

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