I can think of few better ways to enjoy a winter holiday than skate skiing. Hoping you find a way to enjoy yours, and that it brings you closer to nature, friends, and the world around you. (Click on the photo to see a larger picture on a separate picture page.)
It is not a great ski year for the Pacific Northwest. Snowpack is seriously below seasonal averages. Skate skiing this season is mostly a bust in western Oregon. So I thought about past trips, including one I took to the Methow Valley in December 2010, and that turned out to be a great trip because I reconnected with someone who I had not seen in years who showed me the trails. This weekend, the Methow Valley is predicting warmish weather for their annual Tour of the Methow, a great race with many distances, including 80 km.! This is a lovely place, and I always tell my good friends who have not been there, try and go once during ski season.
Skate skiing used to be a part of my life in a major way in Anchorage, Alaska, for six winters. Now I have to drive 60 miles to some decent trails, which are not as well-groomed as what I had at my fingertips at one of the nation’s best cross-country ski areas–urban Anchorage. The Nordic Skiing Association of Anchorage is the major reason why Nordic skiing in Anchorage was always way, way, way above average. A lousy winter this year has put a damper on the ski community (it was 38 degrees F on Friday, Jan. 16). I do miss those trails living so far away. I took all of these photos with a consumer-grade point and shoot Canon–a tough little workhorse that was easy to slip in my pocket and snap quick pics during a ski outing. And there were many ski outings.
(Click on each photograph to see a larger picture on a separate picture page.)
Teacup Lake is a groomed cross country ski area on Mt. Hood. Trails are groomed and maintained by Teacup Lake chapter of the Oregon Nordic Club. The season opened early last weekend, but the snow was the typical Cascades wet, heavy glop. This week, warm weather will delay the re-opening. Here is a video I put together of the Hood River Road Trail, one of the few groomed trails open when I skied (Nov. 23). One reason I love skate skiing is because I get to combine screaming downhill fun and hard work required to skate ski and particularly climb hills, or the lung-busters. Hope you get out of town whereever you are and enjoy winter.
Skate skiing is one of the most phenomenal physical activities I know, and the GoPro Hero 3 video camera is the first camera I know that can capture the pure joy of the sport. I strapped my GoPro to my head and captured the eye-popping scenery of the Methow in mid-February with my friend who lives there. Uphill is great for the lungs and legs, but downhill is what appeals to the brain’s chemistry.