I'm not really picky either. I love to ski traditionally on XC skis, skate ski, and throw myself down double black diamonds in waist deep powder as well. I've been watching some ski films recently on Netflix to get me in the downhill mood, and it's working. However, I'm understanding more now than ever that some of these new school skiers are crazy.
|WTF? Maybe when I'm 85? Source unknown|
I know I'm getting older, and skiing down the chutes at places like Kicking Horse Resort is not that hard for many skiers, but I really do want to see my kids graduate college! When I see the Red Bull athletes fly off of a 70 foot cliff with a front flip, all I can think is that this might be the dumbest thing I've ever seen. Yes, they are trained and extremely prepared, but accidents happen ... all of the time, and leave these guys in a wheel chair eating through a straw. I feel bad for them because they have so much life ahead of them and they don't realize it OR the marijuana is temporarily clouding their judgement and the munchies are making them get to the bottom faster.
So this winter, I plan on:
- Skiing inbounds all year
- Teaching my kids how to put the "pizza" away and use the "french fries" full time
- Not showing off for any of my ski buddies (almost blew out my knee last year because of that)
- Spending more time in the hot tub apres-ski
- Watching the weather reports and picking more deep days
- More XC skiing to build more fitness and not collect too much winter insulation.
I hate to admit that I'm getting older, but the truth hurts. And, as I say to all of my patients who complain about their age: "getting older is still better than the alternative!" So I may not be able to ski bumps all day or huck the cliffs that I used to; partly because my knees say no, partly because I don't want to miss the cycling season, and mostly because my brain knows better. With age comes wisdom and being more boring. I accept my boringness, reluctantly. My wife appreciates it. My kids think their dad is smart (thank you offspring for that vote of confidence).
Cross country skiing on the other hand is very safe and excellent for your fitness. I will attest to that after my first nordic ski two days ago which nearly killed me (maybe it's not so safe?). I decided to head to some nice groomed trails on one of the local golf courses. It's a pretty flat course. The sun was shining and the temperature was about -8 deg C (chilly with the wind that was blowing). I felt a little cold, so I decided to start with a quick pace to warm up. I thought that with my cycling season ending so well with some big climbs that didn't kill me and a generally active lifestyle, the body would easily respond. WHAM! I hit a wall so fast and felt like death had quickly sucked the life out of me. My fitness level may have been OK for cycling, but XC skiing is totally different! Yes, I knew it, but I had conveniently forgotten this over the year. I guess I forgot about my upper body fitness altogether during the summer.
I challenge anybody who thinks XC skiing is for wussies to go give it a try - and I'm not talking about walking around with skis on in deep snow with the poles dragging behind you. XC skiing is an amazing workout and it's a great excuse to get outside and enjoy the cold but sunny skies. Nothing is more graceful and better for your fitness that skate skiing for an hour on a beautifully groomed trail.
There's a local mountain bike / cyclocross racer who flies around one of the circuits here in the winter time on his skate skis. He makes it look effortless, while I make it look more like a whale on the beach trying to push myself along with floppy pectoral fins. And the worst part is when you start to tire out. Then the fast slippery skis and the tired body don't communicate as well for balance. This usually leads to face plants and generally embarrassing situations where you can't get up. Thankfully, it's that not popular of a sport yet so it's usually the birds laughing at me, or the bike racer.
We must embrace the winter if we live in a snowy climate. If you don't XC ski, I highly suggest you try skate skiing (provided you have snow and limited self respect for the first few times). Packages are available for very reasonable amounts and there are no lift tickets to pay for. Also, an added benefit for the cyclist-turned-XC skier, you can use most of the same clothing. Tight fitting clothing that makes you look fast even when you're standing still (or just a dork wearing tight clothes). Helmets are probably not necessary. Get out there!!
On a side note, still no suggestions for where I should move so I can sell my ski equipment on ebay or trade it for a surfboard. Let me know.