We got our first significant snowfall. I went out skiing before the snow stopped falling. One of my ski buddies, Running Bear, called me last night around 6 and said, “pick you up at 8?”
If you live in an area that gets snow and you haven’t tried cross country skiing (Nordic skiing) then something must be wrong with you. What’s your malfunction, boy!?! You can get a full set up, boots, poles skis and bindings for probably around 150 bucks. I beat the hell out of mine and they still last ten years. For the type of snows we get around here skis beat the heck out of snowshoes. The big advantage of skis is the glide, plus you get to ski down hills. I can’t think of a more efficient human powered mode of travel in the snow then Nordic skis. On a good year I can ski over 100 days. That’s pretty good. So this year, although I’m not working as much as I’d like, now that we have snow I’ll be skiing a ton and getting in fighting shape.
Mmmm snow. Beautiful, delicious, delectable snow. There’s that list running around, 100 skills every man person should know. Nordic skiing should be on that list. If you live in the North and don’t know how, make it your New Year’s resolution. It’s easy on the knees too.
Tough to see, but here are some beautiful white pine trees covered in snowy vanilla frosting. This was the height of the storm. We were getting an inch or more an hour, 23 degrees and the winds were 20mph+. It was fun.The first ski is one of my favorite days of the entire year. Nordic skiing is the best exercise I can think of. You swing your arms and skate your legs. I used to winter camp and ski. That’s tough carrying a 50 pound pack on skis. Once you start leaning a little to one side the pack will pull you right over. Who cares, when you fall you land in THE SNOW!! Haha. It’s fun!
My ski buddy Running Bear with Green Eyed Dog in the background. You can see Green Eyed Dog’s eyes glowing and his white vest to the side of Running Bear’s left leg. If you ski a lot the position Running Bear is in is a common position. You stick your poles into your armpits and lean on your poles to catch a break.
We’re powder poachers and I’m proud of it. Where we went last night there is new “management” and the new “management” implemented new rules and regulations. What is it with some people? You give them a little power (flashlight, keys and radio) and all of a sudden they think that they are Master of the Universe. One of the new rules is that they don’t like us there at night. SCREW THEM!!
Those are MY WOODS. MINE! I don’t care what the name on the deed says. I’ve been there thousands of times, literally thousands, through all the seasons and all kinds of weather over a period of 30+ years. Think about that, thousands of times means once, twice or three times a week for 20 years. Then some new folks come in and try to tell me when I can and can’t go there and what I can and can’t do. It’s plain rude. Those woods are my temple. Really, that’s the way I look at it. And the “management” thinks they can keep me from my woody church because they have some official labeling on their trucks and patches on their shoulders. SCREW THEM!! I’m pretty confident saying that no one in this area currently alive knows these woods better than me. Sure, maybe 300 years ago the settlers and local Indian tribes may have, but not now.
So how do we get around the new “management’s” lack of hospitality? We park across the street from the woods, run across the street and bushwhack through the woods to the trails. This is not advised for others to do at night in heavy wind driven snows unless you are intimately knowledgeable of the terrain. Then we ski till we get near the top of the mountain. At that point it’s too rocky and steep so we remove our skis and hike the rest of the way using one ski in each hand as a walking stick. Once we get to the top we put our skis back on and then the fun begins, ski to the bottom. Why snowshoe when you don’t get the benefit of the skate and glide? Don’t fight gravity. Use it.
If you engage in aerobic activities in the winter you know that you need to dress appropriately. You have to dress for how hot you may get when your heart is doing 150 beats a minute. I was overdressed. Although it was 23 degrees out I had my jacket totally unzipped and I was still sweating. You have to be careful not to sweat too much. You also want to wear underwear that wicks your sweat away from your body. No cotton, because “Cotton is death.” Got polypro and Goretex?
Abraham’s rule of the day: You can’t complain about the snow or cold if you stay inside. Keep your sitting inside on the couch watching TV mouth shut. Just get outside.