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

Powerful truth of resurrection reverberates even today

Don’t let the resurrection of Jesus become old news

Nell and Homer Crosby were early homesteaders in Happy Valley. Although they had left the area by the early 1950s, they sold two acres on their southern line to Rex Hanks. (Photo courtesy of Katie Matthews)
A Kind and Sensitive Man: The Rex Hanks Story — Part 1

The main action of this story takes place in Happy Valley, located between Anchor Point and Ninilchik on the southern Kenai Peninsula

Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion
Chloe Jacko, Ada Bon and Emerson Kapp rehearse “Clue” at Soldotna High School in Soldotna, Alaska, on Thursday, April 18, 2024.
Whodunit? ‘Clue’ to keep audiences guessing

Soldotna High School drama department puts on show with multiple endings and divergent casts

Leora McCaughey, Maggie Grenier and Oshie Broussard rehearse “Mamma Mia” at Nikiski Middle/High School in Nikiski, Alaska, on Tuesday, April 16, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Singing, dancing and a lot of ABBA

Nikiski Theater puts on jukebox musical ‘Mamma Mia!’

This berry cream cheese babka can be made with any berries you have in your freezer. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
A tasty project to fill the quiet hours

This berry cream cheese babka can be made with any berries you have in your freezer

Minister’s Message: How to grow old and not waste your life

At its core, the Bible speaks a great deal about the time allotted for one’s life

Kirsten Dunst, Wagner Moura and Stephen McKinley Henderson appear in “Civil War.” (Promotional photo courtesy A24)
Review: An unexpected battle for empathy in ‘Civil War’

Garland’s new film comments on political and personal divisions through a unique lens of conflict on American soil

What are almost certainly members of the Grönroos family pose in front of their Anchor Point home in this undated photograph courtesy of William Wade Carroll. The cabin was built in about 1903-04 just north of the mouth of the Anchor River.
Fresh Start: The Grönroos Family Story— Part 2

The five-member Grönroos family immigrated from Finland to Alaska in 1903 and 1904

Aurora Bukac is Alice in a rehearsal of Seward High School Theatre Collective’s production of “Alice in Wonderland” at Seward High School in Seward, Alaska, on Thursday, April 11, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Seward in ‘Wonderland’

Seward High School Theatre Collective celebrates resurgence of theater on Eastern Kenai Peninsula

Most Read