Back in 2009-2010, we decided to spend two weeks in the Canadian Rockies over Christmas and New Year’s. On this particular day of that trip, I’d managed to talk Pat into renting cross-country skis.
My logic was simple. It was about -22 degrees Fahrenheit that day. We were either going to end up sitting in the lobby of our hotel all day (and it was not the kind of lobby you want to hang out in) or we were going to find something to do outdoors that would keep us warm.
I don’t know of any outdoor activity that keeps a person warmer than cross-country skiing. It’s the equivalent of going running with trekking poles. You use every muscle in your body, including some you may not have known you had, and the only time you get a rest is if you happen to go downhill.
Since Pat had never cross-country skied before, we chose a flat, groomed trail listed as easy. This may not have been the best idea–Pat never got to experience what gliding down a gentle hill feels like. In fact, I don’t think Pat got to experience what gliding felt like at all–for him, cross-country skiing was more of a wrestling match.
As it turns out, cross-country skiing does not keep a person warm when said person must stop and wait for wrestling spouse to catch up every 5 minutes or so. And, shocking as this may be, being impatiently waited for every 5 minutes or so does not exactly make the wrestling spouse enjoy his wrestling match more. This was not one of those activities that turned out to be good for our marriage.
I’m better at being patient when I’m not cold and he’s better at learning a new activity when I’m not around doing it better than him. The fact that he had never done it before and I had did not seem to make him feel any better. It certainly didn’t keep me any warmer.
I did my best to pretend I was grateful he was taking so long because it gave me time to shoot. It also allowed us to see some deer along the trail who didn’t notice we were there, possibly because they couldn’t perceive we were in motion.
The trail was 18K to the lake and back. We had read that doing the first 5K was well worth it. If we made it out 2K, I would be surprised. But it was good we turned around when we did–the sun was already getting low in the sky by the time we made it back to our car. Days are short up North at the end of the year and the darker it gets, the more bitterly cold it gets.
Pat determined we could have hiked faster and declared that we weren’t going to bother with cross-country skis anymore. So far, he’s a man of his word.
- Christmas in July (nomadicmainstream.com)
- The Difference Between Ski Skating and Diagonal Stride (livestrong.com)
- Day in the Life 7; Cross Country Skiing with Runner Megan Hebbe (truelovehealth.com)