I have always wanted to be the type of person who enjoys cross country skiing even though my skiing life has been dominated by going downhill. Going into this winter I was hoping to change that.
I had dabbled with xc skiing in year’s past but never really jumped in the deep end. I decided to take part in a Nordic Camp back in mid-December. It was one of the best decisions in skiing I have made in a long time. Two full days on skis with a mix of instructors gave me a huge jump start in figuring out this skate skiing thing. The best part of having multiple teachers is that you hear how to do things in multiple ways which certainly makes it more likely that one will click in your brain.
The best part is that I have continued to get out on the trails and work on what I learned over that weekend. Today I skated just over twelve miles and for much of the ski day it felt much easier than less than a month ago. I still wish the uphills felt a little easier (I doubt I’m the only one) but I seem to have found a smoother gear on the more gradual uphills that doesn’t leave me gasping for air when I reach the top.
It is hard to believe that I have spent more time cross country skiing over the past week than riding the lifts.
Hopefully the aerobic benefits from the nordic skiing and uphill skinning will be noticeable when I restart running sometime in February.
It has been a winter full of skinning right out the door at the ski area. So much that the mind starts getting bored of skiing up Vogue and Heavenly Daze before I even buckle my boots.
Yesterday I decided to head into the hills and check out some places I have only seen on topo maps. With the frigid inversion in place it also was twenty to thirty degrees warmer 3,000 feet above town which was certainly nice.
The pitch I was looking at could use some more snow but it was pretty well spaced trees and as I approached the bottom I could see even more terrain worth checking out in the future, especially if I give myself the time by leaving earlier in the day. The skin back up was tough. Even with all of the vertical I have been logging at the ski area, breaking trail boosts the heart-rate significantly.
Back at the open meadow at the top I wolfed down the sweet potato I packed and skied a nice mellow opening to get back to the trailhead. The cold has kept the snow quality high, although I’m sure today’s warmth will destroy the fluffy snow that still existed on south facing slopes.
It’s been a slow few months in this tiny corner of the blogosphere. I have recovered from hernia surgery and have been doing my best to get after it. Winter has arrived with a vengeance in Steamboat Springs and the skiing has been good.
In 2015 I uphill skied nineteen times post-surgery for a grand total of 49,302 feet of vertical. I’ve been trying to improve my cross country skiing and working on getting back some of the aggressiveness I used to have alpine skiing. I had a very close call with a deep-snow tree well back in 2012 and haven’t been able to lose the tentativeness while skiing ever since, even on wide open trails that have been meticulously groomed.
I hope to average 10-20K a week for the rest of the winter along with quite a bit of skate skiing and some real backcountry skiing.
For running my main goal in 2016 is to finish a Western States qualifier to get started in the lottery process. Secondarily I will race more this summer with a focus on shorter races in an attempt to gain back a little bit of the speed I’ve lost since running a 1:35 half marathon in 2007. The Steamboat Running Series will be a nice way to get in some of these runs without too much travel.
I also resolve to do more blogging of my adventures. It has been hard to figure out what direction I want this blog to go and to translate my passion for endurance activities into words. I had no problem creating content for a fly fishing blog in the past so I think I just need to work at the writing side of things and my voice here will slowly get louder and louder.
Here’s to meeting my 2016 goals.