Nordic Skiing

I LOVE Nordic Skiing. And I’m not talking about putting on classic skis and taking a little shuffle through the forest with a backpack full of hot chocolate and scones.  Although that sort of skiing is perhaps a fun outing, when I mean nordic skiing I’m talking about hard hill climbs, fast twisty descents, pounding heart, strong breathing, lactic acid, and did I mention going fast?  If you’ve not experienced that sort of skiing watch the Olympics next year and you will see what I mean.  Nordic skiers are tough and have some of the highest VO2 max’s recorded.

I don’t consider myself “fast” these days in a racing or competitive sense by any means, but I still like to go as fast as my body will let me with only sporadic access to the sport.  In many ways my brain likes to fool me into thinking I’m in much better skiing shape than I am and I start out too fast only to max out my heart rate and have to back off.  There is a synapse that fires as soon as I get on the snow that tells my body “GO!” as if I am back in the high school days of skiing everyday and racing every week.  Of which, I am not! Silly brain.  I am, however, still rockin’ my late 90’s gear that you see at second-hand stores for next to nothing prices, but it still works just fine (in case you were wondering I have updated my clothing). Being on the trails is the place where my head clears, my worries fade, and I feel full of vitality.  Cheesy sounding perhaps, but that is truly the most honest way to describe the feeling.  I think Ravi heard me say “I love this” one too many times today.

Gliding through mountain trails never gets boring, the scenery is usually stunning, and dinner tastes amazing after a good ski not to mention the snacks along the way.  I happened to have a piece of leftover apple strudel shoved in my waist pack today just in case and it was the most amazing tasting apple strudel I’ve ever had.  “The most amazing INSERT FOOD ITEM HERE” is a common occurence either while skiing or shortly thereafter.  A couple weeks ago while at Mt. Bachelor I imbibed “the most amazing Gatorade” while taking a short break between skiis.  Endurance sports and in particular nordic skiing often brings out a good case of “the most amazings.” Which is not a bad problem to have.  Pretty sure when I was training for Ironman a couple years I ate “the most amazing” tortilla chips, chocolate milk, shotblocks, etc.  After one particularly long ride and run, on which I had not ingested enough calories, I kept running (I was doing laps on my friend’s street) past this mail box with a ginormous purple tin of Cadbury cookies and chocolate hanging off of it for the postman to pick up for the USPS food drive.  Needless to say I had the most amazing cookies and chocolate after that training session.  You get the picture.  But I digress, back to skiing-I love drinking the almost freezing water that cools in my bottle as I ski, the way the skis are light under my feet and glide, the rhythm of the technique, narrow winding trails, cold air on my face, being warm when it is cold, the contrast of snow to trees and rocks, the time to reflect, the quiet, pretty much everything about it.  I could go on but I won’t bore you with my details.

We had great conditions today at Sovereign Lake Nordic Center just outside of Vernon, B.C.  I only wished I lived closer to dry snow and a big trail system like this gem.  Puget Sound is an awesome place to live for access to outdoor activities, but the Nordic skiing close to our house is usually wet, the sky is usually gray, and the snow is more often than not similar to a slurpee at 7-11.  I still love skiing off the I-90 cooridor but it is refreshing to come back to the car wet only from my sweat, not soaked from the outside rain. Some pics from today. We have a few more days skiing to come!

– Alison

Sunset on the way home from the mountain.
Sunset on the way home from the mountain.
First time skiing with Duke.
First time skiing with Duke.
Sunset on the mountain.
Sunset on the mountain.
Who knew there would be a mistletoe on the trail?!
Who knew there would be a mistletoe on the trail?!
Sunset on the way down from the mountain.
Ravi hitting the trails.

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