This winter, give cross-country skiing a try

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (AP) — The first time I ever 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.

If you’d like something more than hanging out at indoor gyms this winter (or worse yet, couching up with TV or YouTube cat videos), make a vow to give the recreation a try.

The next winter storm or two will drop enough snow to start heading to the trails to give the recreation a go.

Here are a few tips to aid success in adopting this recreation:

— Go with some patient friends who are veteran Nordic skiers.

— Rent skis (rather than buy them) 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.

On the central Kenai Peninsula, find cross-country skis at Beemun’s Bike and Ski Loft on the Kenai Spur Highway in Soldotna, 907-262-1234, and at Wilderness Way on the Sterling Highway in Soldotna, 907-262-3880. Beemun’s offers ski rentals.

— Start out on mostly flat trails. Good starter trails can be found at Tsalteshi Trails, which has trail heads at Skyview Middle School and on Kalifornsky Beach Road in Soldotna; at the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge headquarters area on Skill Hill Road in Soldotna; on the Kenai Golf Course in Kenai; and at the Nikiski Pool in Nikiski. Trail conditions will improve with fresh snow, which is in the forecast this weekend.

— Learn how to dress. The classic beginner mistake is to overdress or to wear a heavy winter coat. After half a 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. A simple book pack or daypack works best.

— Expect to experience some of the most beautiful backcountry scenery of your life.

“Especially when a light snow is falling and all the trees are touched with white,” my wife Julie says. “It’s just magical.”

Clarion editor Will Morrow contributed to this story.

More in Life

Candy pecans make a sweet snack to enjoy on excursions. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
Road trip reimagined

Candied pecans accompany more subdued wandering

Robert C. Lewis photo courtesy of the Alaska Digital Archives 
Ready to go fishing, a pair of guests pose in front of the Russian River Rendezvous in the early 1940s.
The Disappearing Lodge, Part 1

By the spring of 1931, a new two-story log building — the lodge’s third iteration — stood on the old site, ready for business

Viola Davis stars in “The Woman King.” (Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc.)
On the screen: Women reign in latest action flick

‘The Woman King’ is a standout that breaks new ground

Artwork donated for the Harvest Auction hangs at the Kenai Art Center on Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2022, in Kenai, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Auction, juried show to showcase local talent

Kenai Art Center will host its annual Harvest Auction this weekend, juried art show next month

Sweet and tart cranberry pecan oat bars are photographed. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
Cranberries to match the bright colors of fall

Delicious cranberry pecan oat bars are sweet and tart

Will Morrow (courtesy)
Take a chance

The fact of the matter is, you can find a way to hurt yourself in just about any athletic endeavor.

Alaska Digital Archives
George W. Palmer (left), the namesake for the city in the Matanuska Valley and the creek near Hope, poses here with his family in 1898 in the Knik area. Palmer became a business partner of Bill Dawson in Kenai in the last years of Dawson’s life.
Bill Dawson: The Price of Success, Part 5

Thus ended the sometimes tumultuous Alaska tenure of William N. Dawson.

Minister’s Message: Plenty

The Bible story of Joseph in Egypt preparing the harvest in the seven years of plenty teaches us some vital lessons

A still from “Jazzfest.” (Photo provided)
DocFest could be the golden year of documentaries — again

Homer Documentary Film Festival returns for 18th year with solid mix

From left: Lacey Jane Brewster, Terri Zopf-Schoessler, Donna Shirnberg, Tracie Sanborn and Bill Taylor (center) rehearse “Menopause Made Me Do It” on Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Applause for menopause

Kenai Performers’ new play takes aim at ‘not the most glorious part of womanhood’

Bulkogi Stew, a mixture of beef steak, potato starch noodles, green onions and broth, is enjoyed as part of the Korean harvest festival, Chuseok. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
A hearty stew to celebrate harvest and loved ones

Bulkogi Stew makes for a perfect drizzly Chuseok in Alaska

This is the only known photo of Peter F. (“Frenchy”) Vian and William N. (“Bill”) Dawson together. They were photographed standing on the porch of their Kenai store in about 1911-12. (Photo courtesy of the Kenai Historical Society)
Bill Dawson: The Price of Success, Part 4

One man who never seemed to get on Dawson’s bad side was Peter F. (“Frenchy”) Vian