If you see cross-country skiers on television or watch other people doing it, I am here to tell you that it is a trick. It is the most inefficient way of travelling on snow since I tried to convert tennis racquets into snowshoes.
When you see someone blissfully gliding along on skis, they are either a ballet artist out exercising or have developed the special muscles necessary through years of practice and thousands of grueling hours of torture on the cold snow.
Yesterday we all kitted up and off we went for a blissful day in a sylvan outdoor setting. The Lovely One and our friends are all accomplished cross country skiers. I am not. I am a friend of gravity. All the skiing that I have ever done involves alpine skiing. There is much less effort. All you do, is point your skis downhill, push off, and suppress the screams. It also helps to wear dark snow pants to hide the stains.
This cross country skiing is an optical illusion.
I strapped on my gear pictured above, and we all headed out. The Lovely One and our friends were soon shushing along, gliding effortlessly across the snow. I watched them disappear over the horizons as I huffed and puffed and made less progress than if I had taken the skis off and walked.
After five minutes I was soaking wet with sweat. I carried on flailing in the snow. My companions charitably stopped and waited the half hour for me to catch up. They weren't even breathing hard, and I had done the equivalent of a couple of marathons.
Then they decided to bushwhack -- cut a trail through the bush. There was a small incline about a foot and half high spread over four feet. Normally it is one step. It took me a full five minutes to navigate that very small impediment. In the meantime, my friend Wally ditched his poles and began cutting branches to clear the way for us to ski. He was making better progress than me, without poles and cutting down small trees and overhanging branches and making a path through the bush. That's when I gave up the bush-whacking.
I quickly came to the realization that cross-country skiing is not a wussy sport for people with fear of heights. The conditioning required is more demanding than I thought. If I am to get good at this sport, I will need a lot more practice and conditioning.
Above, messages are left in the snow for me to find my way and for the teams needed to rescue me
Tree -- the other way of stopping.