Explore The Outdoors

Klutz on Skinny Skis

Sometime you’ve gotta reach out and hug a tree.  That was my tactic on a particular downhill while Nordic skiing recently in Utah.  Couple of things happen when you cross country ski with me:  you’re going to laugh at me; I’m going to laugh at myself; I’m likely going to squeal while going too fast downhill; and it’s going to be a ball!  That’s what my friend Pam found out when she and I went skiing at Sundance Mountain Resort’s Nordic Center.  We started at the Nordic Center yurt set back in in the picturesque woods near the ski resort.

We started laughing and being goofballs as soon as we clipped into our skinny skis.  Both of us have gone several times but still very much beginners.  This set the tone for our fun outing.

The trail started winding gradually uphill through aspens and pines on a glorious spring morning.  The sun was shining and temperatures were in the 30s so it was perfect for some cross country skiing through a picturesque setting.  Since it’s Sundance, of course, I expect to see Robert Redford!  I kept hoping he would come skiing past us.  I don’t even know if he Nordic skis, but that happy thought kept me motivated as we worked our way higher up the trail.

I had a first on this ski outing.  I’d never used a hydration belt before.  Usually I take a backpack on hikes, snowshoeing, and cross country skiing.  But, Pam and her husband Earl have hydration belts and let me borrow one.  I now have new favorite gear for outdoor adventures under 5 miles.  I used the belt again the next day on a snowshoe adventure and ended up ordering the Nathan Hydration Belt I liked it that much!

Once we got to the meadow all I could say was, “Wow!”  It was serene and stunning.  The views of surrounding mountain peaks, including Mount Timpanogos, and glimpses of the downhill runs at Sundance Mountain were gorgeous.  We glided our way around the meadow just simply taking in the scenery.

Wobbles and falls are part of learning to nordic ski.  Apparently Pam falls just standing still and I like to have close encounters with trees.  While in the meadow, Pam read a memorial to a local skier and while just standing still she managed to wipe out sending us both to the point of crying we were laughing so hard.

Karma was about to get me back for laughing at her.  As we headed back down the trail through the trees, I had my right leg in the track and snowplowing with my left.  I was picking up speed, probably to the tune of about 7-9mph, although seemingly way faster in my head.  As I went around a huge curve somehow my right leg jumped into the other track, which set me off laughing hysterically.  I kept sliding to the right and was about to tumble into tree and powder oblivion when I reached out and hugged a tree.  Not exactly the best way to stop but it worked for me in that moment!  Pam couldn’t even talk she was laughing so hard at me after watching it all unfold.  The rest of the journey back to the Nordic Center yurt was uneventful and filled with laughter the whole way.

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Sundance Nordic Center closed for the season three days after we skied.  But, if you ski Sundance next season, strap on the skinny skis and go for a different ski adventure.  If you’ve never tried it, I highly suggest taking a lesson first.  I’m learning to truly love the sport.  It takes time to get the hang of cross country skiing, especially for this klutz on skinny skis.