Friday, February 25, 2011

Skiing .... aka. Snow Walking!

Snow is falling thick and lovely outside my windows today so it seems like a perfect time to share some photos from our first family XC outing.

For those of you who live in balmy, palm-treed lands, XC does not stand for cross-stitching ... although I've been known to do that too. XC is the abbreviation for Cross-Country Skiing - a winter sport during which you strap a long skinny thing to each foot and attempt to move across the countryside. In my case, without slipping/sliding/or other scary sensations (see previous post!).

We decided to begin our ski careers at the Cascade XC Ski Center. Located only 20 minutes from our home, Cascade offers everything a novice skiier needs. Like skis, boots, poles, groomed trails ...

... and nice people who don't laugh at you. (This one is more important than you may think!)

Still ... I felt a little trepidation while entering the door.

A "groomed" trail means that someone has cleared the path from sticks, stones and other things that may break your bones. Grooming also refers to those two beautiful grooves that you see. They are a life-saver for someone whose legs have a tendency to go in opposite directions.

No trails for me yet. I have signed up for a lesson - which means that I must spend a humiliating hour shuffling back and forth in some of those lovely grooves. Right outside the ski shop where all of the obviously professional skiiers can see me! (I know they were all professionals because their ski suits matched and their noses weren't running.)

You will notice that I do not have any ski poles in my hands. This is because my very kind and patient teacher, Terry, took them away from me. He figured out that I was leaning on them (uh ... yeah ... with all my might!) and that if he didn't intervene, he'd be stuck instructing me for years to come. According to him, I wasn't actually skiing ... I was "snow walking."

I was just happy to be upright!

Terry finally gave up on me and left to take another student out on the "real" trails. I saw the opportunity for escape. While he was gone, I hit the "real" trails too! (After reclaiming my leaning ... err ... I mean ... ski poles.

I may not have been really skiing ... but I WAS moving across the countryside. And it was stunningly beautiful. Look at the size of those pines!

I think I did pretty well for someone with a fear of sliding! Especially since sliding is what skiing is all about! I even "glided" a few times!


But enough about me ... I know that you're wondering about the rest of the family!!

We encountered a lovely little knoll that promised some downhill adventure. I wasn't interested in downhill adventure, so I stood at the bottom with the camera. Let's see how they did....
First down the hill is Sodie. What lovely form and impressive speed! Only one thing she hadn't learned yet ...


How to STOP!

Next came Wayne ... leaning back a little too far on his skis. (It's easy to spot these common mistakes when you're standing at the bottom of the hill carefully propped up on your leaning poles.)

Oops!

CorrieAnne crouched and courageous ...

Until her feet got ahead of her. I hate when that happens!

That darn hill! Proved to be a challenge for everyone... even our very talented friend, Wesley!

First the belly-flop

Then the butt plop

Then a little ballet maneuver

At least he was still smiling at the end ... and yes, he did give me permission to share these pictures! He's a good sport!
All in all, our first ski adventure was a blast! XC makes a great family outing. I encourage you to try it!! Even better, come to visit us and we'll take you out for a spin. Come on ... it would make a great blog post!! You know it would!!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Antislipslideiditis ... Solved!

antislipslideiditis ( -n .... the inability to slip or slide without massive surges of adrenaline and ensuing tenderness of the posterior)

Growing up, I always had my daddy's hand to hold when life got slick. Therefore, I wasn't aware that I had antislipslideiditis until one fateful day in the first grade when I found myself quite unexpectedly sprawled on an icy sidewalk looking up into the face of the boy who had been walking behind me.

He gallantly assisted me to my feet and we continued along the sidewalk with our classmates. Swoooooop ... BANG! There he was again ... bending over me with a most puzzled look in his eye.

Swoooooop ... BANG!


I couldn't take more that two steps without wiping out again! In exasperation, he finally clamped his mittened hands firmly under my arms as my feet skittled over the ground. Together we arrived safely at our destination.


Tim Troyer ... if you are out there anywhere and happen to read this, THANK YOU!! I'm pretty sure that I owe your my first grade life!

Over the years, I watched enviously as my classmates ran and INTENTIONALLY slid across frozen surfaces. They thought it was FUN! I sighed wistfully as I watched figure skaters glide and twirl. I trailed behind every group, painstakingly inching from point A to point B like a wobby granny!

It was so not cool!

It didn't get better as I grew older. In college, one of my first encounters with Wayne involved him rescuing me from the center of a frozen parking lot. Since no respectable girl wants to go through life hanging on her daddy's arm, I needed to marry a man who could walk on ice!

Fast forward to 2008 ... and I am living here in Keene Valley where the ground is snow-covered almost six months a year! What was I thinking?!?!?!

Take for example the path to our barn.
It looks harmless enough ... but when you have a lively dog on the other end of the leash, it becomes a treacherous slope!!

This is a Yak (-n ... a large, stocky, shaggy-haired wild ox, of the Tibetan highlands, sure-footed on icy terrain) Photo courtesy of http://www.simonatkins.com/ See all that snow and ice? That yak can trot right over it!

Unfortunately, we don't have any yak (yaks? yaki?) here in the Adirondack mountains ... but their influence has saved my life and restored my coolness!

I'm talking about ... YakTrax - "Confidence on Packed Snow and Ice!"

No - it's not a dog muzzle. Although that wouldn't be a bad idea sometimes either! (just kidding!)

You pull this little rubber/wire gizmo onto the bottom of your very ordinary shoe or boot.

Suddenly ... you can go anywhere! It's a wonderful feeling!


I now sport the same "ice cleats" worn by the International Bobsledding Team - a fact which makes me feel cool and athletic as I stride confidently across the Keene Valley terrain!

Seriously ... if you are dealing with a case of antislipslideiditis (or know someone who is ... think grandma), check out YakTrax. We ice-challenged folk have to stick together!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Recipe for Saturday Afternoon Fun

Ingredients:

1 cold and beautiful Saturday afternoon
1 driveway plowed and packed to perfection
1 adventurous eleven year old
1 energetic dog with a crazy love for chasing sticks
1 old yellow plastic sled
1 Dad with a video camera

Mix together and enjoy with a hearty helping of smiles!


video

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Snow Day!!

Yesterday, Keene Valley enjoyed its first Snow Day of the year ... receiving about a foot of beautiful snow. The schools and some businesses were closed, but far from feeling "trapped inside," the hearty North Country people hit the slopes and trails with gusto! (Even though it was only 7 degrees out!)

In fact, the day ended with the "High Holy Day of the Groundhog"/Blizzard Celebration potluck at the community church. Despite the cold, the snow, and what would anywhere else be considered "treacherous" roads, an impressive number of townfolk came bearing beautiful food and joyful smiles. Keene Valley loves a Snow Day!!

During the heart of the storm, CorrieAnne and I took our dog, Bella, and the camera and went for a little walk to capture some of the beauty.

The Snow Goose living up to the "Snow" part of her name!

Route 73 lay snowy and eerily silent


The Ausable River, grey-green and sluggish, winds a path through the falling snow.


Rosy noses ... snowy smiles

Doesn't this just make you want to book a weekend winter retreat?!

Cutting across the field to come home. See that little snowy nose peeking out of the snow in front of CorrieAnne? That's one very exhausted little dog, Bella! MUSH!!!

The day after brings blue skies and bright sun ... the soft burble of the water, the crunch of the snow ... the joy of being alive.