Friday, December 18, 2009

XC Ski Lesson

In the fall of 2007, my son joined his school's cross country ski team. It looked like a lot of fun and the team was always in need of parents who could ski to help out at practices. Over the holiday break, the team went away to a cross country ski "resort" where they basically skied, ate and slept for three days. I saw the pictures, and I think "rustic" would be the kindest way to describe the accommodations. Since they are teenagers, they don't care much about the surroundings and had a blast skiing and hanging out. The team needs a few parents each year to come along and help, but the catch is that you have to know how to ski. Although I can downhill ski, I had never been on cross country skis. I asked for skate skis for Christmas and made it a goal to learn to ski well enough by the time he was a Senior to be able to go along to camp.

It's two years later and my son is now a Freshman on the team. That first year, I skied a few times and succeeded in aggravating my already nagging IT band problem. Since I was training for my first marathon during that time, I gave up the skiing for the season. Last winter, I tried again with limited success. I skied a half dozen times and didn't get past being petrified. I still hadn't made it to the point that I was having any fun.

Yesterday, my son's running coach emailed that he was going skiing today and would I like to meet him and get a few pointers. Yes, I would! I waxed my skis, changed the tips on my poles from roller skiing tips to snow tips and scrounged up my lobster mittens. Part of me was worried that he would laugh and say that I was doing it all wrong. The other part of me was hoping that he would laugh and say that I was doing it all wrong. Maybe if I was doing it wrong, that would mean that the right way was somehow easier than what I had been doing. It certainly couldn't be any harder because, geez, my way was just so hard!

The good news is that I was doing it right which is, of course, also the bad news. We went to a flat area and he showed me a couple drills to do without poles. Apparently, gliding requires standing on one ski at a time which requires being able to balance on one foot while moving. Balance is not one of my strong points. After getting warmed up, we did a short loop course which had some down hills and, unfortunately, some up hills. Going up hill is challenging to say the least. I think my triceps are going to hurt tomorrow.

After making it around, we did a couple more drills and I started to get the idea of gliding on one ski at a time. Notice that I said that I got the "idea", I don't think there was actually a lot of gliding going on. We took another lap around the course. Even though I was getting tired, I felt like I was getting the hang of it and forgot about being afraid. It was a beautiful day to ski. After a stretch of very cold weather, today was in the mid twenties, the sun was shining and the course through the trees was peaceful.

Ever since I set the goal of learning to ski, my heart just hasn't been in it. I've taken little steps toward that goal, but I'd never been able to actually picture myself doing it and enjoying it because it is so difficult. Getting some expert help and encouragement has made me excited about really dedicating myself to learning how to do it. Normally I'm rooting for a snow-less winter so that I don't have to fight the snow during my runs. Now I am torn! There is snow in the forecast for next week, and I find myself pretty excited about it. Maybe I will make it to ski camp after all. I'm sure my son will be thrilled. Ha!


Londell said...

I hope you make it... But a weekend at late teen boys is not easy. I did it with my son man times and it was rewarding but so exhausting.

Jean said...

Good luck with your cross country skiing venture this winter, Beth, and way to embrace all of the seasons here in MN! I hope this becomes a very rewarding experience for you.

Trishie said...

Very cool ! XC skiing looks TOUGH !

AZ said...

XC skiing = sounds like fun.
Weekend with the boys = ???

BrianFlash said...

I would think that the strategy would be to learn just enough to make it to ski camp so you could keep an eye on the youngster.

Sounds like you are almost there!

Velma said...

I agree with Brian Flash. Nice work out there, but please don't ask for snow. I have to travel to WI for the week and I need good driving weather!

Julie said...

Hi Beth,

I am not on facebook yet so I will need your e-mail. I think Fargo is about a three hour drive from here so it is doable. I will look on line to see if I can find more info on the half marathon.

Cross country skiing is such a good work out. The last time I went out I think I was in jr. high, but I do remember my thighs were just burning for days after!! Have fun with your son it will be good bonding time for the two of you.

Heather said...

I have to figure out how to cross country ski quick. I'm doing the Mora class (4 events) and the last one is the ski race - minimum I can do to get my classic medal is 35K. Yikes. I need to find some lessons! :)

Mike Russell said...

You need to make sure you go to the camp and smoke a couple of the skiers there. That will always make for good conversation!

Chad said...

Beth, I probably had my skis for 6 or 7 years before I finally decided to put forth an effort and figure things out. Similar to you, I just talked a buddy into showing me a few techniques - namely how to get up a hill.

It seems like everytime out I pick up something else; changing poling sides depending on the slope of the terrain, letting the skis do the work, carrying momentum over the tops of hills, etc.

Keep up the great work.

Julie said...

Hey Beth,
I just wanted to let you know that my computer sucks right now and is having a hissy fit about won't let me e-mail:( If it decides to work later you will get an e-mail from me, otherwise I will e-mail you when I get back to work on Monday!! Merry Christmas Beth!!

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