As I look out upon the snow covering that we are experiencing in the northeast this winter, I am reminded that when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Or in this case, when weather brings snow, go skiing. I didn’t really understand this variant on the dictum until Andy and I lived in Ohio during our first cold-weather winter together in 1989. We were living in Oberlin where the world is very flat and fields and roads go on for miles. During the warm weather months we found that the terrain was well suited for taking long bicycle rides. During spring and summer we became very devoted to weekend bike outings. Once the snow arrived, we had to rethink our outside game plan. Enter skiing—cross-country skiing to be precise.
Andy had some experience cross-country skiing but I had never been on skis of any kind before. But given our athleticism at the time, we didn’t bother with lessons and found a local golf club that rented skis during winter. I’ll never forget when the guy at the ski-rental booth said something like, “you must be cyclers.” Apparently all those months of biking long-distances had made our thighs quite clearly built up and toned. And so began our life of cross-country skiing through snowy winters.
We didn’t stay in Ohio very long, so we only went skiing there a few times. Nonetheless those early years set us up nicely for many years of outdoor fun—now based out of New York. One of my favorite memories of cross-country skiing was not long after we moved to New York. We took a weekend trip to Ludlow Vermont, a town most known for its proximity to Okemo Mountain for downhill skiing. We had no experience with downhill and didn’t even consider it an option (later we did learn to downhill ski and enjoy it). Instead, we went to Ludlow because it was near the well-know cross-country ski area Viking Nordic Center in Londonderry, VT.
The weekend was planned as much for the eating as the skiing because we had read about a bed and breakfast known for gourmet meals. The Black River Inn is no longer open but at the time they not only provided yummy breakfasts, they also served formal gourmet dinners. The food was indeed divine and plentiful which was just what we needed because food is burned very quickly when you cross-country ski. The way I think of cross-country skiing is essentially “running on snow.” Except that usually when you go for a run it is only a half hour to an hour run. Whereas typically we would head out and ski for two to three hours at a time. I’ll never forget how exhausted we were on that trip when we got back to the B & B after a day of skiing. We’d barely make it to the shower but we were determined to get dressed and make it to dinner. The food almost evaporated in our stomachs as we chowed down. We had no problem putting everything away including the heavy and deadly but delish caramel cheesecake for dessert. Those were the days.
These days we still cross-country ski but we don’t stay out as long and we don’t eat as much afterwards. We are fortunate to live just a few miles from Fahnestock Winter Park where they have miles of groomed trails and ski rentals. We had our own skis for years but they recently died so we have been renting when we go. So given that it’s snowing again, I think it is time to embrace the weather and go skiing!