Thursday, March 9, 2017

The Need for Speed (Not)

I've never been drawn to high speed activities (running and hiking aside, but those are different). My skydiving career ended prematurely on the third training jump when things went spectacularly wrong (we all lived). I was never one of those kids that wanted to ski fast or jump off high things. I liked the meditative pace of canoeing instead.

Cross country skiing as I grew up with it consisted of gliding serenely through deep woods, occasionally facing small hills, but nothing too extreme. I moved to Florida for a time, where skiing was referred to as "snow skiing" (which is just wrong) and then to Southeast Alaska, where snow rarely stuck to the town level and we went out in kayaks instead (I also had to drive motorboats for work, and didn't like driving fast either).

Where I live now, either you hole up and hate winter, or you adapt. Since I love cross country skiing, I adapted. But I'm not sure you can really term this "cross country". It's more "climb big hills and ski down them with Nordic gear." There's rarely anything flat about it.

"Enjoy the speed!" J yells as I pause at the top of the Hill of Death. I used to sidestep down the hill, and now I mostly ski it, which is a victory of sorts. However, my passage is a blur of fear, occasional giggles, and muttering a mantra of "oh no, oh no, too fast, help." I wish I could be a person who enjoys speed, but I doubt it will ever change at this point.

This is what cross country skiing should look like! Sadly, too brief of a flat interlude. BTW this is March, not December.
Sometimes conditions align. This past weekend, enough snow dumped to make the dreaded climb and subsequent plunge down from RY Timber lands joyful. Fast enough to glide, not fast enough to face plant. I arrived back to the ski area feeling confident. Maybe I was better, I thought, as I negotiated the last (mostly flat) approach. Maybe....

Thump! A small hill appeared from nowhere and my skis slid crazily down the strange concrete-like mix of snow. I thought I had survived until the last minute, when I plowed to a stop face first. Yep folks, still not ready for speed.

Pretty obvious what happened here.

12 comments:

  1. Your snow looks wonderful. I was getting excited for you, for your perfect day's skiing. I hope the snow is as soft as it looks.

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  2. I loved to downhill ski at one point in my life Mary. Just like I loved to play Roller hockey. But as I've gotten older that love has changed a bit cause I worry about getting hurt and then it would keep me from the thing I love the most, BACKPACKING!!!

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  3. Nice snow photo. The second photo looks as if an eagle had trapped a rabbit, or a skier. I was never one for speed at skiing either....those flat or rolling xcountry trails that my friends found boring, I thought were just fine and good for looking around.

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    1. I giggled wondering what other people would think as they skied by.

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  4. You know me, I love skiing fast downhill!! But I totally get it that other folks like to take it easy. Skiing is whatever makes you happy, whether your pace is fast or meditative. And I will say that skiing downhill is doubly difficult on skinny xc skis, so kudos to you for trying.

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    1. I see tiny kids at the ski area who are fearless. That's the time to start.

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  5. As a teenager, I loved downhill skiing. Pine Mountain had night skiing for $10 a night so I went twice a week. After my arm broke, well I've been afraid ever since. I'm like you now: "oh no, oh no, too fast, help." Luckily the snow is quite a bit softer than biting it on dirt, so there's that.

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    1. Yes I can see how you wouldn't want to risk it. I don't really have a reason, just fear.

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  6. I agree wholeheartedly with you about no need for speed!!! I only got out once on my XC skis this season ... mainly bc snowshoeing was easier for Justin. I miss it!!!

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    1. Seems like you're in a good place for it. Maybe next year. I barely skated at all.

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