Have you tried Cross-Country, or Nordic skiing? If so, then you probably love it, if not, then you might want to give it a try. Spring skiing will be here soon, and those sunny days spent skiing on groomed trails or breaking trail, help create memorable times.

My experience was to take some lessons and then go for it for about30 years. Then I realized I could use a tune-up because I had certainly picked up some bad habits. So, I attended a BOLD training. BOLD is an acronym for Blind Outdoor Leisure Development. The organization helps connect blind people with sighted guides. Maybe you've seen skiers wearing a bright yellow or orange jacket with "Blind Skier" printed on the back? Well, I had two wonderful teachers and one of them was blind. She was amazing, and a far better skier than me. An awesome, incredible 6 hours later I was so psyched from the training, that I took notes when I got home. I actually skied blindfolded for awhile as part of the training. Talk about fear busters, this did it.

So, I would like to share some vital take-aways:

  • bend forward with ankles - gliding foot should lift and hip should thrust forward so glide is better
  • look up - forward-don't look down (this feels better, back is straighter and thighs do the work, not arms)
  • when going uphill, bend from waist, straighten, and push on poles
  • use the straps on the cross country ski poles - hands loose on pole with light tugs on straps- makes you use your legs and hips.
This is a good video about a X-Country ski lesson. Most cross country ski areas offer rentals and lessons. Usually there is a free training day during season, and a potluck moonlight ski too. Pleasant, life long memories and beautiful scenery are bonus gifts. You can easily find cross country ski trails for the state you ski in listed under cross country ski area or association. Often there are online sites as well.

The Nordic skis are narrower, and the boots are lighter like the skis, so the equipment is easy to handle. The toe of the boot clicks into the ski and the heel is free to lift, it is not affixed to the ski like an Alpine ski boot. A backpack is easily worn and suggested to carry a few things. That is all for equipment.

Other essentials are to wear layered clothes that keep you dry to avoid hypothermia. It is a decrease in core body temperature so normal muscular and cerebral actions are impaired. Food and fluids are necessary to avoid dehydration. Sunblock for face, lips, and any other body parts that are free from clothing. This is especially important in high altitudes, even on overcast days. All these items will easily fit in a backpack, and you can put your clothes that you peel off from your great aerobic workout in the extra space. Avoid alcohol, because it contributes to dehydration.

A camera and a cell phone are nice to have along too. Besides the amazing scenery, sometimes wildlife shares the space, and sometimes another skier may need help so the cell phone is good. A lovely soak in a hot springs or a hot tub is always a pleasure after a day cross country skiing. It's about getting out of doors, working out in your own tempo, and enjoying the trip. It's fun when you nail the how to, learn how to fall safely, learn how to get up, and get some sunshine!

For more information on BOLD you may like Bold Tracks: Teaching Adaptive Skiing by Hal O'Leary.