Touring on skis

We had the best time this weekend. It's been snowing for a couple of weeks now, something in the range of a foot a day, and the skiers are in heaven. We don't downhill ski anymore, but our friends have a condo near Leavenworth, and invited us over for a weekend of food and wine and cross-country skiing. Their condo is right on a golf course near Lake Wenatchee, and there are 35 km of groomed cross-country trails available, starting right outside their back door.

Almost as soon as the grooming SnoCat came through around 7:00 am, skiers started to hit the trails.

This was the first time we've been on skinny skis since about 1980, when we decided to set our downhill gear aside and find out what cross-country skiing was all about. We signed up for a ski club outing, picked up our gear at a Wenatchee ski shop, had an hour-long lesson, then headed up a logging road off the old Blewett Pass highway (at least, it's the "old" Blewett Pass now... back then, it was the "real" Blewett Pass).

We came home after that experience and went back to downhill skiing. There were lots of reasons; mostly to do with fish-scale skis that didn't glide, and the wrong wax for the changing snow conditions. Climbing was OK, but when we headed downhill after lunch, we were quickly frustrated: picture a moderately steep logging road, with plenty of snow, and not being able to slide down it. We had to pole and push all the way back to the car.

But this weekend was completely different. First of all, it was cold all weekend, and it snowed pretty much non-stop. We went out the first day for a short time, and the snow was crusty but freshly groomed. It took a bit to find my balance, and not be fearful of sharp turns and downhill stretches. But I took it slow and searched for rhythm, and had a good time. The second day was even better. It was still snowing, but the wind had died down, and it was warmer. Jim waxed our skis (tips and tails), and that made gliding easier.

A foot of snow dumped on the pass overnight so we didn't spend much time on skis today. But we came home thinking maybe we'll buy our own gear (at least, our own boots).

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