Sunday, February 28, 2010
Cross Country Skiing
It snowed here (Flagstaff, AZ) a few days last week putting powder on top of the icy snow making it the perfect condition for skiing. Usually I would go downhill skiing but because of our recent trip we decided to save money and try cross country skiing. I am decent at downhill so I figured it wouldn't be that difficult to go flat. Jeff and I went to the Flagstaff Nordic Center, rented some boots and skis, grabbed a map and set out on the trails. It was a bit more difficult than I had anticipated at first. I fell 3 times within the first 5 minutes. The skis used for cross country are thinner in width and only attach at the toe, meaning your heal is able to lift off the ski. These differences took some getting used to. You have to glide the ski forward, lifting your heal while you glide the other foot. Once I began to feel more comfortable we planned out a route to take and began. It took me a bit to figure out that the two tracks just big enough for skis on the side of the trails was meant to help make it easier. The snow plow goes around the main trails flattening the trail and putting tracks in and boy do they help. I felt like a train on a train track, controlled and with direction. The first trail we took, Reese trail, was mostly uphill so I got a good work out and really learned how to use the tracks and the detached heal to my advantage to get me up the inclines. The trail we took back down, Wild Bill, was downhill and curvy. I finally felt at home cruising down, but the tracks made it a bit difficult around the curves. I was starting to get sore in strange muscles so we headed to a yurt to take a break. The yurt was basically a warming hut with a bathroom, water, a wood burning stove, and two futons for people who want to rent it out for a night. After a break we glided around the trails for awhile longer until my muscles couldn't take it anymore so we headed back to return our skis and head home. The conclusion from this experience is I like downhill skiing more because it gives you a rush and you can't beat weaving in and out of trees and jumping moguls. However, cross country skiing feels so different you almost can't compare the two. It was an excellent workout and it was fun being able to be so mobile in the snow while spending time in the woods. I think I'll go again before the snow melts.