Ice sits ready to skate at Bottenintnin Lake in the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska on Nov. 1, 2020. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Ice sits ready to skate at Bottenintnin Lake in the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska on Nov. 1, 2020. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Tangled Up in Blue: Skipping skating

I was looking forward to ice skating this winter. I had bought a pair of Nordic blades a little too late in the season last year. I put a few miles on them, but was daydreaming all summer long about the long stretches of ice that would be waiting for me this November.

But, I don’t think I’ll be experiencing that anytime soon.

This morning, I woke up to over a foot of snow. It is an early storm for Seward, which was blanketed in white this morning.

I had just been getting optimistic too, with temperatures dropping quickly and staying low — a guarantee for ice. But, it does snow here and doesn’t stay very green. I don’t really need to quit the winter scene, I was just hoping I would fly along the ice. Or, as Joni Mitchell croons, “I wish I had a river I could skate away on.”

Sure, when the ice comes in, I’ll be skiing on Bear Lake on the regular. I even went skiing this morning, so I shouldn’t complain about a lack of winter sports.

I guess I’m just working through my shift in expectations. Instead of easing into the winter season like I had planned, with some dusted snow on trail runs and an ice skate through the Swan Lake Canoe Route, I had to jump straight onto my skis.

My Nordic blades will accumulate their own dust, and I’ll start getting my skis waxed and ready to go.

It may also be a bit of apprehension. Those first few skate skis of the year are a doozy, miles of huffing and puffing, paired with some falls. Running all summer and fall never translates into skate skiing as well as I want it too. That whole body workout leaves me exhausted and sore.

Ice skating is just a little bit nicer on the body and calmer on the soul at the start of winter.

Like I said though, I really can’t complain. Winter is here already, and the snowfall is already exceeding expectations.

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