The reason for for not wanting to part with winter is simple: my newfound love of cross-country (XC) skiing!
I was a downhill skiing purist for the longest time. I doubted I could ever enjoy XC as much as downhill. A good friend of mine, who is an avid XC skier, invited me to ski with her several times over the last few winters, but I always had to decline because I either had mountains to ski or mountains of school work to attend to. I was so hooked on downhill skiing that I didn't want to give up a day of doing something I knew I liked to try something I might like. I could say I wish I would've given XC a fair shot sooner, but instead, I'll just say I'm glad I gave it a shot when I did and didn't put it off any longer.
|Volkl Attivas meet|
I will say that XC skis are verrrrrrrrrrrrry different from downhill skis. They're about a million times lighter, and the boots are about a million times more comfortable than downhill boots. My XC skis don't have metal edges like my downhill skis, so turning and stopping is difficult.
There's something about XC skiing that is good for the soul: the rhythm, the stillness of the woods, the snow glistening in the trees. There's also the feeling that's reminiscent of a scavenger hunt, where you have to keep an eye out for trail markings and signs to make sure you're going where you want to, and there's some sense of accomplishment when you've found the right trail (or, found your way back to the right trail after getting lost!).
|Laurel Mountain with fresh snow!|
Yes, I do miss the adrenaline rush of downhill skiing sometimes, but XC provides some peaceful changes from the downhill ski scene, where there's crowds of people waiting to get onto ski lifts, music playing, and teenage snowboarders making out on the ski lift chair they're sharing with me (yes, I've really had that privilege before, haha). In a way, XC skiing reminds me of trail running, but it's less taxing on your body. There's some really nice areas to XC ski in in the Laurel Highlands, which is about an hour and a half drive each way from Pittsburgh.
XC skiing is supposed to be great cross training. After my first "long" day of XC skiing (5 hours), I woke up the next morning and was painfully aware of about 30 muscle groups I previously hadn't known to exist. My coach said I can substitute XC for my normal workouts when I want to, though sometimes I question the specificity of the training.
Today's evening workout was supposed to be a track interval workout, but since Mother Nature dumped about 8" of fresh snow on us last night, I ditched the track workout in favor of taking my skis to a county park. I don't feel like the workout was the best, but it was wonderful to be outside on a sunny, blue-sky afternoon.
|Heading back to the car after skiing... |
Somebody already put tracks down
so I didn't have to do quite as much work!