Friday, February 24, 2012

X – Country skiing. A beginner’s perspective in winter fitness while attempting a new sport.

Many instructors say cross-country skiing is just like walking.  Not for me!  At first it was more like sliding and falling.  But the great thing was that everything was relaxed, even falling was kind of fun.  When I  stopped trying to go fast, and relaxed, it DID become like walking on the snow.  I love the quiet schussing sound through the woods.  And when the snow is fresh and the trail freshly groomed, even I feel like an athlete!  I’m still a real chicken on hills, preferring to go up in a herring bone than to go down a steep hill.  But I’m getting better about remembering to crouch low to the ground on the down hills to keep my center of gravity low. 

I finally took a lesson last year after years of flailing about on my skis.  It was amazing what a little instruction can do for confidence, not to mention technique!  I’ve tried skate skiing and that was ridiculous.  For now I am sticking with the classic diagonal style, telling myself that it is a better all-body workout anyway. 

Be sure to layer when you go out, you’ll more often find yourself shedding layers than adding them.  Wicking base layer, fleece inner layer, windproof but breathable outer layer.  Wear warm mittens for hands and keep those ears protected.  You’ll burn lots of calories but won’t be sore the next day because the motion is so easy on the body. 

Ski with someone close to your level so you can enjoy yourself.   My favorite skiing companion in my sister’s dog Jack.  He’s a lovely personality, a mastiff/lab mix who enjoys a brief run once in a while.  She’s trained him to pull in a skijoring harness, and he’s my ski dog!  We toddle along quite nicely without too much rush.  And on the hills he chugs on up, making any hill a joy for me.  It’s really fun.  You’ll earn your dinner and a soak in the hot tub, and be ready to do it again the next day.
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