Cross-country Skiing

Although the temperature was hovering at 14 F (-10 C), wind chill had us bundling up with scarves and balaclavas – the perfect Christmas gift – as we prepped for a short New Year ski.

When time is limited, we often slide down the valley for a shuffle on groomed cross-country ski trails. Skinny ski trips are a great way to get a little fresh air, exercise and sunlight without a heavy pack and long backcountry day. Slapping on some blue wax, we quickly headed away from the crowds. The wind died down and an inversion meant warmer temperatures the higher we climbed.

Trails that are close to parking areas with flatter sections tend to attract a long of beginners. Near the end of our loop we came up on a group of three men, dressed in snow-covered jeans. My daughter scrambled up a small rise. One of the men turned to us and asked: “How do you do that?”

“Wax,” we replied.  Taking pity, we showed them another trick – the herringbone step. We demonstrated how to point ski tips in an outward V with knees bent and step up the hill – like a duck! The one man followed us up the hill with an “ah hah” expression on his face. He thanked us profusely at the top and then pointed to his friend below.

“He’s fallen a hundred times trying to get up here. And he probably will fall again, but now I know how to do it.”

Cross-country skiing:

  • accessible for all skill levels
  • a great place to get started and learn some basic skiing technique (from snowplough downhill to herringbone uphill)
  • good exercise
  • allows you to get outside

What you need:

  • skis, boots, poles
  • wax and cork
  • quick dry clothing (not cotton jeans!)
  • a daypack with snack and drink
  • warm clothing layer (such as a down coat for when you stop)
  • mitts
  • hat

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