This Christmas brought another new family sport/gift to the house.

We started downhill skiing years ago, and last year, on the advice of a friend, we picked up snow shoes for the family Christmas present. We would clomp across the snow, in a quest to find great toboggan hills. A successful investment.

This year we ventured into another winter sport, cross country skiing. Narda did it as a child, I have done it a few times and our eldest son loves cross country running (and is pretty amazing at it). It is a reasonably low cost sport to get into and if you have the good fortune to have some open terrain near you (we do), it is a zero cost sport to enjoy each day. We ventured up to Mountain Equipment Co-Op, where their enthusiast staff was of great help and in short order kitted up the family.

The only real decision was wax or wax-less skis, as we are not interested in skate skiing as that only works on groomed trails. The conversation went like this:

Me: ‘What is the difference between wax and waxless?’

Her: ‘Wax skis require continual maintenance. Waxless skis mean you really only need to maintain the tips’

Me: ‘So waxless is less work?’ (Knowing full well who would become the family ‘waxer’)

Her: ‘Correct’

Me: ‘Waxless it is’

Our biggest concern was that cross country skiing across a golf course or open field would not be as fun as on groomed trails. Fortunately, the concern was unfounded. Personally, I find cutting a trail across an open space, the first one in the new fallen snow, a wonderful experience.

What has been most surprising is just how good a work out it is. I would wager that part of the exertion is due to having to work harder as we learn the sport. However, as we get better, we will simply see the same level of exertion but higher speeds. Definitely a great workout.

A friend said his favourite time to cross country ski is during a full moon. I can’t wait to try that. Maybe I will bring a camera.

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