YMCA of the Rockies: The Nordic Redemption

Now, when I entitled this blog post “Nordic Redemption,” I didn’t mean this.
But rather, this.
The back story: As a Canadian, I grew up cross-country skiing the golf course across the street from my house. Jamie is an avid alpine (downhill) skier so I figured his transition to Nordic would be a snap. It turned out to be a different kind of snap when he fell over going 0.0005 mile per hour and claimed a concussion.

That was ten years ago and I figured it was time he got back on the horse again. I signed our family up for a group lesson at YMCA of the Rockies’ Snow Mountain Ranch’s world-class Nordic Center, which offers more than 100 km of trails—from beginner loops to advanced ski trails. The kids are both becoming good skiers so I figured they were ready to add another style of skiing to their repertoire. Though I get a passing grade in cross-country skiing, I’m not an expert and would like to take up more advanced techniques, like skate skiing or mastering backcountry climbing skins.

Or not running into your friend Aimee when she’s trying to take your picture, which was my memorable wipe-out that day.

Our husband-wife instructors were excellent but the conditions were not. The snow was hard-packed so it was baptism by icy fire when they opted to start our lesson by taking us down a short, moderate slope while demonstrating the hallowed snow plow. Crash after crash occurred but the only one who took it to heart was Bode, whose confidence was shattered early-on.

“It’s OK,” I consoled him as I wiped away his crocodile tears. “You’re the youngest one in the group and you’re doing great.”

And he really was. When we moved to the beginner practice track, he started to regain his mojo as we all learned to stride, kick, push and glide like “neanderthals.”

I somehow didn’t think neanderthals were all that graceful prior to our outing.

The tepid skiers in the group stuck to the practice track and Jamie offered to stay behind with Bode while a handful of more courageous folks ventured out and followed a trail alongside Pole Creek. Hadley started mastering the smooth cadence and I was thrilled to see at least one member of our family take to Nordic skiing.

“So, when do you want to do it again with Mommy?” I queried, salivating over Snow Mountain’s bright winter sky, frosty trees, long mountain views and fast tracks.

“Maybe in, like, a couple of years,” she replied.

Though Jamie had a much more positive experience, he still wasn’t sold. “It was OK but I like downhill skiing more. Besides, it’s a different breed of people out here.”

“What do you mean?”

“There are no, ‘hey dudes’ or ‘let’s hit some bumps.’ These people are more like the marathon-running crowd.”

That’s his nice way of saying, “NO WAY” and I’m on my own. I’ll take it.


Don’t miss parts I and III of our adventures.

YMCA of the Rockies: My Colorado Love Affair

YMCA of the Rockies: Reliving and Reinventing the Glory Days

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