Day 109: Skate skiing bliss

We've been having a bit of a warm spell here, and it's been a little bit rough. Yes, I know, these are not big problems in the world, but it is March afterall and March means – to me at least – big snowstorms and powder skiing. We have seen none of that, and it's been a little rougher still because we work in a climbing store (as well as a ski store) and it's hard to put on a bright happy face everyday for all the spring lovers when in reality I'm freaking out about our snow melting away. It's not that I hate summer. We actually plan to dab in climbing this summer, and go full speed ahead into mountain biking (thank you town of Nederland eco-passes). It's just that – I'm craving those deep powder days, and wish summer would take it's time getting here.

That was the mindset until a couple days ago when we decided to take the shop Eldora passes and go skate skiing. Since everybody at the shop is in climbing mode, they're not hard to get. Nordic skiing is something that holds a strong place in my heart. I learned very young, raced at CU and coached the local high school team. Yet I really haven't skied much since the winter of 2008-09. Nordic skiing was one of the fallouts in all the crisis, and I think last two winters I nordic skied all of one day each year.

This winter, thanks to benefits of working in a ski shop, we ordered Elaine some skate and classic track gear and have been getting into it. Just one or two days a week, but it's been nice. Still, I don't think Elaine totally fell in love with it until today. We were lazy for the most part today – the warmth demotivates and brings on lethargy – and didn't get out there till about 5:30. I expected frozen slush, but instead we were greeted by perfectly groomed tracks with a light sheen of refreeze on top. Absolutely perfect skating conditions.

We've both gotten a nice fitness bump from the Power of Four and the ski to Winter Park and back, and I noticed it yesterday and today. Yesterday was solid, and I was anxious to see how two days in a row – my first time doing that since March 2009 – would go. It went great. Elaine skied up 17th Avenue and Twin Twisted Tree non-stop, which for me has always been a gauge of if I'm shape or not. It was pretty damned impressive for somebody who hasn't even been skate skiing double digit days yet. We then ripped down Woodcutter and took a couple laps on Buckeye, always following the cordouroy tracks, freshly groomed, it seemed, for us.

Somewhere in the middle of today's ski I felt that rhythm that I have not felt in years. It's the left-right glide, moving light and fast, perfectly in balance. It was awesome, so much so that I'm all packed up for a dawn patrol session tomorrow. I can feel the stoke for that sport swelling up. I think I might try going up Woodcutter. That'll hurt, probably more than three years ago, but it's always been a good test, and I'm looking forward to it.

It's interesting, how in the despondance of winter potentially ending early (and looking at next week's forcast, it seems like false despair) I've refallen in love with one of my favorite winter activities there is. And to share it with somebody else, and see her fall in love with it too is the best part of the equation.

Three days in a row. Hmm…this could become a happy addiction.

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