Last year I tried cross-country skiing for the first time. I really enjoyed it, and although I didn’t get out to cross-country ski that often last year, I was determined to make a change for the current winter season. A few weeks ago I purchased a set of wax-able skis from Lifesport in Kensington and I’ve been itching to test them out. Last night I waxed up my skis (thanks Youtube for the instruction!), and was ready to go for today. I met up with friends Adriane and Lauren and we were off to Cascade Valley in Banff.
The temperature was cold (-10 Celsius) but the weather was great- super sunny and not very windy. I’m told these were quite ideal conditions. With an attitude of excitement, we stepped into our skis and were off. It took a while before the technique came back to me: leaning forward, shifting body weight completely to one side as you plant and kick off, and the general motion of that which most imagine to be classic cross-country skiing. At first, I blamed my struggles on the equipment: “Did I put the right wax?”, “Did I put enough wax?”, and “Is this the right sized ski with the right amount of camber for me?”. Of course, all of it was fine, and it was just me. Like the saying goes, “A bad carpenter blames his tools”. Slowly but surely, I got into the groove and it was lots of fun!
In the end, we skied for about 2.5 hours. One and a half hours to the river/bridge, and one hour back. The shorter return distance was due to a 3 km downhill, which really tested my ability to stay in control. Which I did not. And this resulted in a few falls during the descent. But alas, everyone falls at least once. Or twice. Or several times. And it’s crazy how much of a workout it was! Even though I exercise regularly and my cardio strength is good, my cardio was tested today. And my entire body was put through the wringer. As I write this, my everything hurts, especially my right hip flexor. Something is not right there.
That said, this is an activity I look forward to continuing throughout the next few months. I think I did pretty well for the first day out and I can only improve from here. The goal: to enjoy the wintry outdoors. I definitely haven’t taken advantage of the amazing winter wonderland that is the Rockies. But the other goal: to complete my first loppet. A loppet is a cross-country ski race similar to running races… but on skis! The ones I have in mind are The Kananaskis Ski Marathon (February 22, 2014- 15 or 24 km) or the Lake Louise Loppet (March 2, 2014- 10 or 20 km). It’s all dependant on scheduling right now, but if I can do at least one, that would be awesome.