Yesterday I trekked to Bristol Mountain. Since two years they have a nordic ski area; two groomed trails, one easy and one not so easy. While the Bristol Mountain web site is a little sparse on details where exactly this area is, I eventually learned that the entrance is off South Hill Road (I could have phoned them but what’s the fun in that!?).
My TomTom knew the location of South Hill Road and after solving the mystery of having only one ski glove (decided that my winter cycling gloves should work too) I was off with the skies on the roof rack of Dr Frits. South Hill Road dead ends at the ski center. It was good that I knew this because this road winds on for quite a while seemingly going nowhere and clearly not on the snow plow route. I went in the ski center, purchased the trail pass and was about to put on the skies when I heard a familiar voice. Lo’ and behold, Wayne’s here skiing (downhill though, one of the lifts ends here) with (one of) his girlfriend(s). He enquired after my other half. I replied: “You haven’t heard? We’re not together anymore.”
Anyways, we chatted a little more mainly about Wayne’s cycling and skiing exploits as usual. Then I decided it was time to get active so stepped in the bindings, put on the gloves, gripped the poles and pushed off. Swoosh!
Well, a little swoosh. Or maybe just a tiny bit of swoosh. This was the first time of the season and while the trail was beautifully groomed, mostly flat and very quiet I was most rusty. Now, one may argue that this being only the second winter of doing this I never really was not rusty and if I was objective, impartial as I always am then one could possibly hear me agree with such an observation. But still, boy, it amazed me how much I was struggling. This was a 1.2 km loop which I did 4 times. Had to stop and pauze every few hundred meters. On the backside of the loop the trail sloped down through 3 or 4 nice, quite wide turns back to the ski center. The first time I couldn’t hold the 3rd turn ending up between the trees, the second time I fell crossing the skies, the third time I made it through by coming to a stop after the 2nd turn, pauze and then continue. The fourth I made it through slowly, slowly; by then rather tired. Each time, especially the left hand turns I was so very tempted to go “pootje over”, the speed skating cornering steps but I discovered a few years ago in Colorado how well that works on skies! In the meantime, there were about four good skaters doing the loop passing me many times effortlessly with good pace all of them doing the skate movement. Now, I know how to speed skate but on these skies I have great difficulty performing skate steps.
Still, I had a great time and it was gorgeous weather as you can see from the pictures. I am thinking maybe taking a lesson or two and get some help with the technique.