Saturday, December 08, 2007

I HATE Cross-Country Skiing

No doubt about it. I tried it once, and it was terrible (then again, the first time I tried downhill skiing in 5th grade, I fell on the rope trail, and couldn't get up for like 10 or 15 minutes, leaving the bunny slope dejected, in tears, and swore off downhill skiing for the next seven years).

I'm reminded of my hatred for Cross-Country Skiing because of an article I saw today, cheerfully proclaiming that I can now ski all the way from Massachusetts to Quebec on the Catamount Trail.

No thanks.

A few years ago, Kelly and Brian brought me Cross-Country skiing. I figured it would be a nice leisurely day floating across powder as I watch the wilderness around me. Kelly, a state champion Cross-Country skier, said she would teach me, and that it was easy if I knew how to downhill ski. The basic premise was the same, just a bit more acceleration required of my body, and that I should follow the ski tracks made by the people before me.

I found myself strapped to longer (i.e. less control), slicker skis with no edges (i.e. I couldn't snowplow on even the slightest decline). After lunch, I called it a day and drank my soreness and frustration away in the lodge, a mode usually reserved for beginning downhill skiers who just couldn't cut it. Kelly tried, but I was unteachable.

Don't get me wrong - I'm fine skiing downhill. Not quite black diamond, mogul-trail fine. But intermediate trails aren't usually a problem for me.

Cross-Country Skiing, however, does not represent a pleasant excursion for me, and the thought of a trail connection to our neighbors up north isn't my cup of joe.

1 comment:

Anonymous said... many times have I heard THIS before?? Oh well, here's a defense of the sport where skiing originated....

In order to enjoy nordic skiing, you need understand that it is quite a different discipline than alpine skiing. The fundamental difference is the fact that your heel is not locked down on the skis, so you need to learn different techniques.

The equipment is designed to be used in either set, prepared tracks (classic) or corduroy groomed trails (skating). This is why the skis are longer and have no sidecut. Bushwhacking across a field in ungroomed snow will be a miserable experience, and a waste of time. Don't try to shortcut across an ungroomed part of a trail system to get back on the trackset portion, otherwise, in deep snow, your skis will cut into the powder like a knife and you'll be waist deep and stuck.

I cannot stress the importance of balance and weight transfer as critical skills to learn. Classic skiing is essentially trying to move as fast as you can in a straight line; as a result you need to optimize the kick and glide phases. Leave the shuffling to the card tables in Las Vegas!

Most beginning skiers never master the proper weight transfer, and view the sport as work. Incorrect assumption! Properly waxed skis will optimize glide and make the effort much easier.

Turning on nordic skis is a function of the terrain. Use your entire boot to edge or push off on the ski, as needed. Step turns, parallel turns, wedge turns, etc are most of the repetoire that you will need on most trails.

There is NO better exercise than nordic skiing. 'Nuff said on that,

The other advantages are numerous, to include: you won't have to dodge illiterate snowboard punks that try to run over you on the slopes, no waiting in line to grab a chairlift, no ripoff lift ticket fees, rental costs are nil, and trail pass fees run anywhere from $8-$15 at nordic centers.

Now get out there and get in some serious kilometers. You'll be glad you did.