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In Response To Last Week’s “Top Reasons I Enjoy Being A Senior Skier”, We Hear From A Nordic-Loving Senior.

Credit: Dawn Green

Editor Note: Roger Lohr is publisher of XCSkiResorts.com, a top guide and center for cross-country news and destination information.

It seems the older I get, the more I enjoy Nordic (XC) skiing. It probably has something to do with being out in nature and also being confident on the skinny skis.

Roger Lohr is publisher of XCSkiResorts.com.

Nothing to Prove

There is nothing to prove but so much to enjoy going along a trail, whether going uphill or downhill. Well, truth be told, I enjoy the downhills much more than the uphills. Frankly, I completely endorse the two-car experience, where one car is left at the bottom of a trail and the other is taken to the top. Is this cheating? Maybe, but I am a senior XC skier; that’s my prerogative.

What A Feeling

It has always been enjoyable to help others with technique tips, but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to really like when people appreciate my XC ski skills. Much of the enjoyment depends on having the right equipment and, with XC skiing, that is a very important factor. Narrow, fast, waxless skis for the tracks at a groomed XC ski area are great to enjoy the gliding sensation. Whether hearing the nearby brook bubbling, the fragrance of the pine or balsam trees, or stopping along the river to watch the water pass over ice-covered rocks, you find nature is at its transcendent best.

Downhill in the Forest

I also love using wider XC skis (either steel-edged or not) and a little more supportive boot with a wider binding system to go downhill in untracked snow on trails or off trails. Meandering and finding a way down in deep snow is what I call a good time, and the lightweight equipment makes it manageable. I often earn my turns by skiing up a hillside trail on waxless skis to capture some thrills on the slide back down.

The Mountain Road

I especially like taking the lift at Bretton Woods in New Hampshire’s White Mountains to ski back down on the Mountain Road trail whether it is groomed in a corduroy lane, roller coaster tracked, or is sporting a coat of any depth of new snow. That Mountain Road has never disappointed when I’ve taken friends on it.

Snowsport Brethren

My love of XC skiing includes no “attitudes” about my snow sport cousins on alpine skis, telemark or AT skis, snowboards, or snowshoes. We all can enjoy nature in winter and we all can enjoy mastering the snow for memories of the experience. In fact, on powder days I can think of nothing better than donning my snowboard hitting the slopes and floating down the powder paths to the lift to do it again.

Meeting on the Trail

I love to meet others upon the trail and chat about the trails, XC skiing, the equipment, and clothing. Sharing the outdoors with other active folks is great, and it always adds something to the outing.

Ski Anytime

With XC skiing, there is no midweek issue because you can ski anywhere there is snow and on any trail that has enough snow cover to support sliding and turning. Any day can be a great day XC skiing whether at the commercial XC ski area or up the street on a local trail network.

Ready for Anything

Being prepared helps, so on my outings I bring a small pack to carry water and other things that I might need such as dry gloves, a hat, compass, a scraper and spray to handle icing on the skis, and so on. In the old days, I’d carry a spare tip in case the ski broke, but that is a rare instance now as the skis are so well made. And speaking of the equipment, XC ski boots are so comfortable with the right sock set. It seems I’m out there in my bedroom slippers or barefoot.  Light, layered clothing works perfectly to keep me dry and warm. There’s no need for bulky insulation because XC skiing creates heat to ward off cold temperatures.

No Discounts Needed

When I get back home, I enjoy the feeling of accomplishment and respect for nature. I’m not concerned with senior discounts because XC skiing is inexpensive at commercial areas where a trail pass is less than $20-30, or it is free on any other trail that you may find around town or in the local park. Either way, XC skiing keeps you active, feeling great, and in touch with nature, and that’s a triumphant triplet.

 

6 Comments

  1. Avatar Terry Rosenthal says:

    My first overseas X-C ski outing will be in Germany this January. Although I live in eastern Turkey, they haven’t discovered the sport so I have had to downhill ski. I started as a teenager in Wisconsin state forests and fell in love with the peace and quiet. Thanks for the article.

    • Avatar Daniel Chisholm says:

      I learned to ski at Alpine Valley, Wisconsin. I visited Turkey as a traveling hippie and just loved it. Reached Kona to watch the Dervishes.

      Where is the downhill skiing there?

      Sincerely,

      Dan Chisholm

  2. Roger, great article!
    “Glide Long and Prosper”
    Brad Noren
    Nordic Ski Inst

  3. Avatar Jan Brunvand says:

    I did lots of XC as a kid in Michigan with my Norwegian-born Dad and brother Tor, but have stuck pretty much to downhill here in Utah, despite some great possibilities of tours. I hope my occasional cracks about snowboarders do not count as an “attitude,” as I, too, believe in live-and-let-live among snow sports.

    Nice article! I should dust off the old gear and try it again. Better yet, upgrade my gear and get serious about XC too.

  4. Avatar Jack Shipley says:

    Thanks for the good article, Roger! Ya, I remember those plastic spare ski tips we used to have to carry, for when our wooden skis broke. But I still have one pair of excellent wooden skis that never broke — they were made of laminated hickory by the Lund company in Minnesota, and were painted plain white for the U.S. Army in 1951. I stripped off the white paint, and put on some Swedish ABC Victory cable bindings from 1970, and they are sweet backcountry skis. Actually turn better than any modern “one-and-a-half” camber plastic ski. See you out in backcountry some day!

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