Winter kayaking with blue death but no volcanoes

bluedeathYes, I did get to ski today, thank you very much. For the most part it was just ducky but I do have one small rant to get out of my system.

<rant>Dear Hot Shot Skate Skiers. Yeah, you two tall skinny monosyllabic dudes in the blue and the red. Y’all dern near ran me over on that hill with the hairpin turns! I am a traditional style cross-country skier. I have been a traditional style cross-country skier since before you guys wore diapers. I am not the best skier on earth but I am pretty darn fast for what I am. Stamina is what I think you call it. But I do not skate-ski. When I get to that hill with the hairpin turns, I stop. I check to see whether there are any neophyte skiers lying spreadeagled across the trail halfway down. If there are, guess what I do. I WAIT! How long do I wait? I wait until they collect themselves and get out of the way. When it is my turn to ski down the hill with the hairpin turns, I ski in a controlled way. That means I do the trusty old snowplow turn to slow myself down going around the turns enough that I don’t catch an edge, career off the trail, and smash into a tree. So next time you guys get to the top of that hill — you know the one — please stop and look to see who’s ahead. You can wait the 20 seconds or so it’ll take me to snowplow my way around the hairpin turns and I promise, when I get to the bottom, I will get outta your way and back into the tracks that us traditional skiers use. Thank you very much.</rant>

Other than that, everything was fine and we skied every trail at the ranch and a couple of them twice. And don’t get me wrong. Skate skiers are not all bad. Those are the first two I think I have ever encountered that weren’t perfectly nice and friendly and willing to share the trail. The X-C ski ranch is not about hot-shotting or trail-hogging or competition in general. It is a family-friendly place where skiers of all abilities are welcome and new skiers of all ages are warmly encouraged.

I do know how much fun it is to go like a bat out of hell on skis. I was young once too. Now that I am an old bag, I have a different approach to the whole thing. If I am not going like a bat outta hell, I see things that I wouldn’t ever have noticed 30 years ago. The patterns of tree branches against the sky. Cloud formations. Changes in light as snow squalls cross in front of the sun. Piles of snow covering old stumps in the woods. I carry a camera or two with me these days and sometimes I even stop to take pictures. Novel idea, I know. Stopping on a ski trail. I promise, I don’t do it if there’s somebody right behind me.

Yes, of course, I took some pictures. Click here or on the nerdy guy wearing the earphones and drinking the blue death.

3 Responses to “Winter kayaking with blue death but no volcanoes”

  1. Margaret Says:

    I don’t even know what a skate skier is. It’s been a long time for me. I loved downhill, but then dumped my fiance who was the skier–and got married to a guy who hates to be cold. (and the only time he was on skis was utterly frightening for him and for me)

  2. Tonya Says:

    I’ve never been on a pair of skis (downhill or cross-country or…otherwise). But I’ve snowmobiled, and have known the likes of assholes. As a snowmobiler, I (and the truly classy folks I’ve snowmobiled with) have always shown the utmost respect for the cross-country skiers and dog-sledders who have sometimes shared the trail. But there will always be assholes, I know. And the thing I always liked the most about snowmobiling? The scenery and taking those pictures! Nothing like ’em! (Assholes have a hard time relating to that).

  3. Dog Mom Says:

    I have done the snowmobiling thing, the downhill thing and the XC thing. I much prefer the XC thing!!!

    Downhill: too many hotdogging self-centered teenagers, too-crowded downhill runs that take half the time to ski than it takes to wait in line to get to the lift (not to mention the trip UP the lift AND the hotdogging teenagers skiing *over* my skiis while waiting in line); result? lost interest after a few years.

    Snowmobiling: only seemed to be going with The Engineer, rarely with any other couples; when going out, never could find out *where* we were going or *where* we had been, nor would anyone ever slow down OR stop so I could enjoy the scenery (i.e., spent entire trips hanging onto my handlebars for all I was worth, trying to keep up with the taillight ahead of me, and having no clue what I was speeding past. Add to that horrid bar food and fleabag motels and smelling of 2-cycle exhaust; result? LOUDLY protested that I couldn’t stand the “sport” and made The Engineer sell the sled I didn’t want to buy in the first place (hey, I wanted to *try* it, meaning *rental* not purchase).

    XC? LOVE IT (not dependent on machinery to go the trail, I get to stop and look and listen and appreciate nature, and I don’t stink of oil-rich exhaust at the end of the run. AND I feel like I’ve actually done myself some GOOD at the end of the trail!), haven’t been able to do it for several years for reasons we are all too familiar with – including weather great for skiing mid-week, but when I have the time to go up for a day, the snow is nonexistent. It’s been, what, since maybe 2003? Sheesh, am I LAME. Anyway, I’ll put up with the *occasional* asshole XC skier on the Ski Ranch trails, because they are a microscopic fraction compared to the percentage of assholes that swarm the downhill slopes and snowmo trails (at least here in the Great Lakes State).