I went Nordic (classic) skiing with my friend Pat last week, and we went again today. For our first ski last Sunday, we did an intermediate (blue diamond) trail, which means it has lots of up and down. The trail provided many chances to use different techniques (herringbone uphill, snowplow and wedge turns downhill, step turns, and kick glide). The snow was delightful last week – this week, not so much. Today Pat aptly pointed out it was like skiing on a snow cone. It was very hard icy crust with a little melting on top – very fast icy conditions. It is MUCH harder to control the skis on snow conditions like today; instead of perfect powder it was what skiers call Sierra cement. The same trail that was a fun rollercoaster last week was much more treacherous and demanding today. I left our favorite blue diamond trail and did the easy (green circle) loops instead; even they were much harder than normal due to snow conditions. (The bad snow conditions are caused when the snow warms up during the day and turns slushy, and then freezes at night)
We tried a new trail back to the lodge -- it replaces the trail that is commonly called "Screamer" because it is a steep long descent to the intermediate trails
This fir tree along the trail is the perfect Christmas tree!
This picture illustrates snow layers that can cause avalanches. The hard crusty snow compacts to an ice layer. Then a big snowfall on top of it adds a lot of weight on top of the ice. On flat surfaces, the snow can suddenly drop several inches with a big WHUMP sound. But if the angle of the hill is 30-38 degrees, the snow is likely to hurtle off in an avalanche.
After a couple of hours, we had our lunch at the Nordic lodge. My eye was caught by what must be the most useless item of clothing ever created: A down mini skirt!
Then Pat found down shorts
I just can't imagine where anyone would wear a down mini skirt or shorts.
I met Pat about 12 years ago on a ski trip in Mt Assinboine; she was very athletic and fit but she hadn’t skied much. She decided to run a marathon for her 50th birthday, and she trained and met that goal. On that first ski adventure, she kept up with the group but was a novice. Well, somehow that has changed. She is now a stronger and more athletic skier than me; and she is a stronger more athletic skier than all my other friends that went on the trip. How? She works at it. She moved to our city (close to snow), she skis more than I do, and she pushes herself to go farther, faster, longer.
So I have learned some good lessons from Pat!
Endurance and practice pay off big time. We CAN get better and improve our fitness no matter our age.
I have learned how to to be challenged to fitness accomplishments – without exceeding my abilities. Sometimes Pat will automatically go at a faster harder pace and I can’t keep up. She has now learned better to match the group’s pace. But sometimes when I am with her (without a group), I have to slow down or even turn back, or I will suffer an injury from trying to go too far/too fast.
As a friend she is delightful company because she is smart, kind, and funny -- and she is always ready for an adventure.