On New Year’s Day, I finally was able to enjoy the all-volunteer-run Meissner Nordic trails near Bend. This is a wonderful place, with miles of trails for skate and single track skiers. Be sure to donate to the volunteers if you visit. And bring your sunscreen and lip protection (my lips were cooked like burnt toast!).
The Community Trail in the Methow Valley, in Washington State, is one of the best skate ski trails in the United States, outside of Alaska. Photo taken in February 2013.
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.)
The day was quite warm, but I still got a nice ski in with my friend, who showed me the trails along the Methow River.
The drive to the Methow Valley from Seattle is half the fun. I love the scenery on the Columbia River, especially in the winter.
Climbing Rendez-Vous at the Methow. Huff and puff, but it is worth it.
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.
On the last day of 2014, Mt. Hood finally had great ski conditions. I headed up to Teacup Nordic, the closest groomed nordic trails near Portland and got my last good runs of the old year. To anyone out there who thinks Nordic is for geezers or losers, you should give skate skiing a try. It will kick your ass into shape on the flats and uphills and will have you grinning like a bear in a salmon stream when you rip down a groomed trail. Happy trails, skiers.
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.