Yesterday after work I shovelled half a foot of snow off the driveway and walk. After a break for a cup of coffee and something to eat I laced up my cross country ski boots for my first trip out this season. When a big snow storm hits I like to just leave right from my back door and take advantage of the fresh clean snow.
I ski a two mile loop that at one point takes me completely away from the city lights and into the quiet countryside on the edge of town. I make my way around an up ground reservoir skiing along the top or staying around the bottom if it is very windy and cold. At the front corner of the reservoir the bank is nicely sloped for sledding and is a popular gathering spot where neighborhood kids enjoy the timeless thrill of slipping down a icy hill.
As I continue my loop I cross a set of railroad tracks and make my way back into town now skiing over snow covered sidewalks lining quiet residential streets. A good snowfall really changes the appearance of even the most familiar surroundings and going out after dark makes for a bit of adventure close to home without having to use the car to get someplace.
As crazy as I am about riding my bikes I welcome the winter and the opportunity to get out and recreate in different ways. The image of a cross country skier gracefully gliding along a groomed path may be what most people picture when they think of cross county but that's pretty far from the truth concerning my little outings. I'm usually blazing trails through fresh snow in the woods getting my ski tips tangled up in downed branches; losing my balance and falling down. It's a full body workout and I usually always end up sweaty and tired but fully satisfied.
Winters around my circle of latitude just above 40 degrees are usually fairly mild but occasionally temperatures can really dip or we receive a big load of snowfall. It rarely gets colder than the teens F. and most of the time the mercury hovers around the freezing mark. This makes it ideal for most outdoor recreation and matching up clothing to the activity is not too hard. I've found that by getting outside and doing something to generate some body heat can add some great cross training opportunities and fun as well as improving my mood during the shortened days of winter. Most people I know mumble and complain about the cold. Not me.