The first time I went cross-country skiing, I wondered if I would ever get the hang of it. Then 15 minutes later, I found my groove — that kick and glide motion that scoots you along.
I still wasn’t any good at it, but at least I was having fun, and I could see a bright future in the activity.
There’s enough snow now to head to the trails to give cross-country skiing a try.
▪ Go with some patient friends who are veteran Nordic skiers.
▪ Rent skis (rather than buy) and try out different styles, sizes and brands during a couple of different outings before you buy. Different models have different strengths and weaknesses. As a general rule, narrow and long skis are faster but less agile and work fine on groomed tracks. Wider and shorter skis are slightly slower but more versatile and stable, working a little better on ungroomed areas.
▪ Start out on mostly flat trails. Good starter trails can be found at Bogus Basin, Bear Basin, Jug Mountain Ranch, Tamarack, Sun Valley. All of them have equipment rentals available and some offer lessons. Follow the link on this story at Idaho Statesman.com for details.
▪ Learn how to dress. The classic beginner mistake is to overdress or to wear a heavy winter coat. After half-mile of this aerobic activity, you will want to shed the heavy coat. Instead, wear layers of thin but warm items that allow you to fine tune your temperature depending on the conditions.
▪ To best accommodate layers of clothing and food and water, wear a small backpack. It’s also a good place to stash a small first-aid/survival kit. A simple book pack or daypack works best.
▪ Expect to experience some of the most beautiful backcountry scenery of your life.