Monday, January 23, 2006


I meant to take a full rest day today, but eight inches of fresh powder was just too much to resist. So I went cross-country skiing.

My timing this weekend has been absolutely impeccable. I managed more than eight hours of biking yesterday just before the big storm hit, and found a 90-minute window between blowing blizzard and more blowing blizzard to skim the smooth ski trails. (Look at that fresh track, groomed only for me. Our local Nordic ski club really stays on top of things.) That didn't change the fact that it was 5 degrees out, but for the most part, it was ideal.

Sometimes I think it's strange, given the area I grew up in, the friends I keep and the lifestyle I've adopted, that I never became more of a ski geek (or, in the lingo of the knuckle draggers I rode with in high school, a "skeek.")I just took up the sticks this year, and I dropped the hobby pretty quickly when my ice biking efforts amped up. My downhill experience is almost nonexistent. Sometimes I wonder why I don't care more about skiing.

When I started snowboarding, I think there was a general consensus among the lot that skiers were snobs who thought everyone else was too late for the party (the theory was vocalized by a very popular bumper sticker at my high school. The sticker read "Alta Sucks," a reference to a Utah ski resort that refuses entry to snowboarders. Incidently, Alta was also the name of my high school.)Maybe there was some disdain developed early. But now I'm over the hill, and all my friends ski, so there's all kinds of questions about why I don't switch ... or at least try both.

The truth is, I'm an adequate snowboarder, but I'm a flailing mess when I combine skis with any kind of downward slope. It's funny because today, on my skinny cross-country skis, I did fine - even on the steep stuff. I probably forgot that I wasn't pedaling (After all, I've circled the same trail many times on my bike.) So maybe I'm not a bad skier. Maybe I just have a little too much of that "skeek" attitude ingrained.

Five miles went by pretty fast, and I made it home with a growing blizzard riding my tail. Now there's a good 14-16 inches outside, still coming down hard. Don't think Geo will be able to clear Shelton Drive (my street, rarely plowed). I wonder how the biking will be.