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Okay, this is becoming Cliff’s blog and that is not my intention so I’ll write another sample of a story, a longer one, but this will be the last until a few other story tellers have shared their skiing stories.
Last Sunday I showed up with both skate and classic skis so strapped on the skate gear for the first time this season. I wasn’t very excited about skating because in my experience skating is fun if you have spent some time conditioning for it, like running all summer, biking or something really aerobic. That’s not me. Ripping a roof off is about as aerobic as my summers get, so I rely on skiing to get in shape and as I discovered Sunday, classic skiing isn’t really aerobic enough to condition for skating. Only skating in ever increasing sessions seems to work. This being session number one, I wasn’t expecting to last long.
It was a good day for a first skate. The snow was both fresh powder mixed in with some ground up granulated and frozen up firm. This means it was fast and I need fast when I’m sucking wind which didn’t take long before I was hogging all the oxygen. I swooped around Turkey okay but when I climbed the hill to ski Grouse and then again to do Goshawk I was blowing like a bellows. I anxiously skied the shortest route back to the barn and changed out my skate gear for my lazy-man standard classic stuff. Before heading out I stalled, I mean, visited and ate some lunch to get my heart to slow down.
With no more options to stall, I started out on Chickadee, took in Loon and Waite’s Loop and I have to say it was beautiful and so fun to ski lazy-man style. The snow was falling lightly yet the sun was lighting up the sky in a peculiar way. It looked like this.
Normally I like to take in the Jays on the way back but even though Upper Jay looked nicely groomed, I passed it up since I was feeling the effects of my earlier workout and decided to head back the direct route. When I reached Peregrine I noticed the old return trail had been groomed and, knowing it was the most direct route back, I took it, thinking I just might be back in time to drive home in the remaining daylight. It was fast and fun!
I thought my skiing day was done as I loaded my skis in my car but when I changed my boots in the barn there was some ruckus as another skier came in, cell phone in hand, with his wife on the line. She was having trouble finding her way back from Snow Goose and Chuck was given the phone to provide directions. I wondered how it could be done, getting lost on Snow Goose, so I offered to go lead her back to the barn. Chuck thought that would be a good idea so I unloaded my skis and skied the gradual slope down to the Styles Brook bridge where he though I might find her. Not there, so following Chuck’s suggestion, I followed Snow Goose backwards and I didn’t find her until I got to the outer loop where she was headed away from the way home. When I caught up to her she seemed somewhat relieved I came to find her. She was in good spirits and determined to figure out why she got lost. On our way back she pointed out how the faded arrow signs had mislead her. Anyway, we skied against the one way signs all the way back which was fun for me because it was different from normal but the primary reason was because it was shorter. Her husband was glad to see her when we got back and as I changed back into my regular boots, I realized how tired I was and that I had missed my chance for a daylight drive home. It would be another hour and a half drive with a grocery stop on the way but as I set off I remembered something I’d said to Gram, “What could be more important than skiing?”