This crazy pandemic winter was the best winter of my life! I think I was the only one, but it was all thanks to nordic skiing. I meant to start skiing last year, but just never got around to it, so it wasn’t the pandemic that made me want to ski, cross-country skis were already on my list long before everyone else got the bright idea to hang out outside this winter.
I bought a pair of skis, I knew I would ski a lot, and I just got a basic pair of Rossignols at Berkshire Outfitters in Adams, Mass. If you’re anywhere in southern Vermont or western Massachusetts, these guys know their stuff. I highly, highly recommend them. My boots fit like a glove, and they sized everything perfectly (nordic skis are based on height and weight). And then I bought a season pass to Prospect Mountain, in Woodford, which is less than 15 minutes from my house. I never even took a lesson, my running partner and her husband are regulars at Prospect, so I went up with them the first few times, and it was fine. Nordic skiing (and there are two types, classic, which is what I did this year, and skating, where the skis are longer and thinner), is definitely a workout. Classic is usually done in tracks, although I hopped out of the tracks quick because I got bored. Skating is much faster, and a body movement similar to ice skating, the other difference is that the poling is different, instead of alternating your poling with your strides, you use the poles in parallel when you skate. I am absolutely buying skate skis next year, without question.
My routine this winter, almost every day, was to do my regular run in the morning (if you are interested in my winter running tips check out my post here, I am an expert winter runner and I know what I’m talking about), and then a quick shower to warm up, catch up on email and put out any work fires, and then zip up to Prospect for a few hours of skiing. And then I would get home around noon, and often ended up working till 7 or 8 (I also get up very early and usually do a few hours of work in the morning before my run), but it was totally fine, we weren’t really going anywhere at night anyway. Ya’ll, this was a dream routine, that I hope to continue every winter until I literally can’t get out of bed!
I cannot even say how amazing peaceful weekday nordic skiing was. I often didn’t even go on the weekends because it was so quiet during the week, some days I only saw one or two people on the trails. Nordic skiing is a very solitary sport, which really suited me. It was hard this winter being at home with my husband all the time (and I’m sure he’d say the same!!), so a few hours of quiet solitude, sometimes listening to peaceful music on my headphones, saved my sanity. Not to mention I might be in the best shape of my life!
By the end of the season, I could ski up and down the mountain in like 35 minutes flat. I am truly devastated that winter is ending, ha, I really could use another couple of months of vigorous outdoor skiing and cozy, quiet nights. But that is the beauty of New England, we have 4 distinct seasons, and I know in a few months I’ll be all wrapped up in golf and tennis and all of the outdoor fairs and festivals, but I have discovered my sporting passion, and it’s nordic skiing. Ha ha I think I might either have to move to Scandinavia or go to South America in the summers so I can ski year ’round! If you haven’t tried it, don’t wait. Nordic skiing saved my sanity, and I’ve discovered a lifelong passion. I hope you do too.