Have Dental Floss, Will Travel

Mapping the world, one waxy strand at a time…

Getting My Ski On

Well, my knee is bruised and tender and a little bit ripped up (sorry, Kari and Kara, no pictures of this one), but after testing it with two runs and a short ride in the first half of this week, I’m pretty sure I’ll survive just fine.

Onto bigger things!

On Monday night, Brent realized that the two-day snowshoeing race we’d planned on doing this March is the weekend before spring break, which means that it’s the weekend before the two 12-hour adventure races we have planned for the two consecutive weeks to follow (something I noticed and mentioned as soon as the dates were posted, but that’s neither here nor there!).

With a full spring race schedule already set and two expedition races planned for over the summer, we were both a little weary of the long-term toll that three consecutive weekends of racing might take.

So we did what any good racer would do… we returned to an event taking place a weekend earlier, to allow for two weeks between the first two.

Enter: The Green Mountain Adventure Racing Association’s Frigid Infliction, a 10-hour winter race that combines snowshoeing, postholing (walking through deep snow without aid), xc-skiing, and a tyrolean traverse.

We’ve been eyeing this event for a few years, but both the distance (7-8 hours away) and the disciplines (namely, xc-skiing) have kept us away.  This year, though, we’ve decided – within reasonable limits – to pull out all the stops in terms of racing.

But still, there’s that whole skiing thing…

I’ve been cross-country skiing once in my life.  It resulted in a fair bit of falling and a brief marital hiccup when a fight ensued on the trails.


Still, the race is pretty enticing, so I’m determined to figure out how to cross-country ski between now and March 2 – in the as-yet-snowless winter that we’re experiencing in Philadelphia.

Which means I need your help!

Any training tips for xc-skiing without snow?

One friend suggested ice skating.  Another suggested roller blading.  A third thought that I should build a ramp, coat it with sawdust, and ease my way up and down the thing.

A few people have recommended the classic Nordic Track Skier, though I’m not sure how much that’ll do in terms of balance…

What do you think?  Any other creative ideas for finding my skiing groove in the next six weeks?

And while we’re at it, any suggestions for really warm running or biking gloves?  Those Vermont winters are cold!


16 responses to “Getting My Ski On

  1. phillygal January 10, 2012 at 4:47 pm

    There are roller skis that the hard-core cross-country skiers use up here in Anchorage during the summer. They’re basically shorter skis with 4 wheels attached that you can use to ski with. Question: are you going to do skate-skiing or traditional xc skiing in Vermont? I think the roller skis work better to learn how to skate ski (which is faster than the traditional method, but more work).

  2. Julie (A Case of the Runs) January 10, 2012 at 4:51 pm

    Funny, Nordic track was going to be my first suggestion! What about furniture sliders on carpet? Ha ha.

    I couldn’t imagine racing 3 weeks in a row, let alone adventure racing. Glad you seem to have found another option.

  3. Kari @ Running Ricig January 10, 2012 at 4:53 pm

    Omg, the pictures in this post more than make up for the lack of bruised knee pictures!

  4. Sarah S @RunningOnWords January 10, 2012 at 5:45 pm

    I have never actually been skiing (any form). I guess my dad used to be really in to cross country skiing, but he accidentally ended up in the cemetery a few times. He’s an odd one. Anyways, I have no advice, but good luck!!

  5. Kristy January 10, 2012 at 6:03 pm

    postholing –> you learn something new every day! how deep is the snow?

    sorry, i’ve never been xc-skiing before so i have no clue! but a snowy forbidden drive would be perfect for xc-skiing!

    if you find really warm running gloves, let me know. i’m still on the hunt for a pair…

  6. Johann January 11, 2012 at 5:22 am

    We never get snow but that’s about as much as I can say about this one. Skiing is something a South African like me know zero about. Your plans are very exciting! Good luck with your preparations!

  7. Angela K. January 11, 2012 at 2:45 pm

    I’ve seen people here using what look to be cross country skates on wheels. I bet you could rent some. But don’t distress we are sending a winter storm complete with snow your way right now.

  8. Tim January 12, 2012 at 9:32 am

    If you needed fitness the nordic-track or ice skating might work, but that isn’t what you really need. If you are planning to skate ski, then the ice skating might help build some of the hip mucles you need. (So would one of those sliding mats with the booties – remember those)

    Unfortuntely, you are pretty fit already, and so what you really need is to learn balance and technique on the skis. That is tough to replicate with any stand in. The roller skis might work a little for skate skiing, but I am not sure for classic. So, I think you need to take a least one day trip to the poconos and get on some real skis.

    If you have never done it, skate skiing is a lot of fun, but also a lot of work – particularly when you have bad technique. I am lighter and fitter than my father-in-law, but every time we go skate-skiing he kicks my butt, because he has great technique. Mine is mediocre at best, so I end up wasting a ton of energy. I think it is his way of torturing me. When there isn’t good snow on the trails, we’ll often ski up the downhill slopes (we get some crazy looks from the people on thier way down).

  9. adventureisoutthere January 12, 2012 at 11:13 am

    I have no advice, but I love the skiing pictures. The one of you laying on your belly is like my total experience with cross country. It is SO HARD!!!!!!! I was thinking about skijoring with my husky, but I think that is a broken leg waiting to happen. I wish you only the best!!!!! 😀

  10. Coy January 12, 2012 at 2:58 pm

    That race sounds awesome!! Cross country skiing!? Nice! I’m a bit clumsy so although I do ok on skii’s, I find that when I get tired it all starts to come apart. Loved the pics tho 🙂

    That Nordic Trak picture is hilarious!

  11. Natalie January 12, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    you have a busy spring ahead!! that picture cracked me up too! 80s!

  12. I Run For Fun January 13, 2012 at 9:17 pm

    Glad the knee is holding up. I have also only cross-country skiied once. But it’s so much fun. Have a blast…and we may still have snow…keeping my fingers crossed!

  13. Dan Brannen January 14, 2012 at 12:35 am

    Re Tim’s comments above, you can’t skate-ski at Frigid Infliction. You have to ski the “classic” style. Nordic Track is good for a workout that somewhat simulates classic-style xc skiing, but as a virtual xc ski novice, that’s not really what you need (in fact, it may be counter-productive in that it could enable you to “learn” poor classic xc ski technique and get away with it–because the dry-land machine won’t punish you for technique errors the way real snow will). You don’t need the cardio-muscular training. You’ve already got that from running. What you need is specificity-technique training so you don’t spend most of your time spinning your wheels and doing face-plants. There are some very basic elements of running technique that you have to make sure you UN-learn for efficient classic xc skiing. I’ll be happy to give you more details. And you CAN do some effective dry-land technique training, even just indoors at home. Email me if you want more detailed info on this (I think you have my email, or can get it from Denise).

  14. Black Knight January 14, 2012 at 5:27 am

    Never tried to sky …. I am a sailor so, I am sorry, but I don’t have any advice.
    Good luck and have a good week end.

  15. Kara January 16, 2012 at 1:02 pm

    I would think pool running would get you in shape for xcountry skiing since it has the resistance and you need to balance. I don’t know, I could be wrong so if you listen to me and then fail miserably, my hands are clean. 🙂

  16. Suzanne January 19, 2012 at 11:04 pm

    Ouch, sorry to hear about your knee! Hope you’re ok!

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