I was just fooling around when I took out my new skis in a light snowfall last month. Today I got to do some real skiing! I was surprised that the weather defied the forecast, my expectations, and global warming to produce about 3in/8cm of snow in temperatures that were finally below freezing. This morning I went out to shovel the driveway and it was 100% clear (pavement above freezing) so my expectations were low. But by the afternoon, even the paved surfaces were starting to get some accumulation. This is important since our forest trails are paved. I shoveled a decent amount and thought it might be possible and at least worth a try.

And it was great! Which is why the moral of this story is for activities with hardly any downside, give it a try and you might be pleasantly surprised!

I was out for an hour and had one of the best skiing experiences I’ve had on my community trails. I was using my old reliable Rossignol evo XC60 skis which are absolutely perfect for tenuous global warming conditions. You can see that this snow was incredibly sticky with clumps packing into iceballs at every opportunity. I am now planning to put glide wax also on the tops of the skis to keep snow from sticking so tenaciously there.


But the skis performed great. Great glide and kick at the right times. I have a new set of poles too — Salomon R60 Click. These are a huge improvement for me. I love the wrist cages that detach with a press of a button. I skiied the first 20 minutes with a sweatshirt on but was just in a tshirt as shown for the last 40 minutes. But with those poles — click click — and I can take off my sweatshirt or jacket — click click — and I’m back to skiing. No messing around with the straps. The really huge thing though is that the tips are able to dig into the asphalt. If I lived in Sweden this may not be so critical but I don’t. Yet. My other poles would skip off the asphalt through the weak layer of crushed slush. So a huge improvement.


I think the biggest improvement to the whole ensemble was the engine. I’ve been assiduously using my very, very silly NordicTrack every day since last ski season, and guess what — that helps! Not so silly. I don’t do a lot with it, but I do a couple of minutes on it every day just to make sure my body doesn’t forget about this. And at the start of November, I doubled the regime. Still not a lot, but still a lot more than nothing. I definitely am not strong enough to double pole the entire 90km of the Vasaloppet like the winners do. They literally push themselves — quickly — with only poles for 4 to 5 hours straight! But I can do it for a couple of minutes until I feel like my heart is about to explode and I can properly marvel at those pros.


Now after a good day skiing I can sit back and enjoy some calorie negative apple pie by a nice cozy fire. (Yes, that giant pile of logs in the photo of me is an even harder workout!)

Update 2021-12-09 Got up early since yesterday’s snow had a pretty hard freeze (by local standards). Did 50 min on an icy mess and was able to double pole almost all of that! I don’t keep super detailed timed records but I’m pretty sure I just demolished my best previous performance. I am certain that I have skied the same route before taking double the time. I just need to work up to another, uh, 4 hours and I’ll take a more serious look at that Vasaloppet!