Local Motion - New Brunswick

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February 11, 2009

Cross Country PowWowder

I headed home last weekend to get a dose of cross country skiing. Perfect powdery conditions gave me an opportunity to reflect on why I love cross country skiing.

Friday night while I was brushing my teeth before bed my mom suggested we take a moonlight ski. Under the bright full moon our shadows were crisp outlines on the sparkling snow. I had "diamonds on the soles of her shoes" playing in my head as we kicked up brilliant crystals of powder. We cruised in the rolling fields behind our house.

Saturday morning I experimented with my dad's old waxed skis. Though a little sloppy in the boot these skis have metal edges and a modern NNN binding. On the hilly fields behind our house I found the speed to cut a few turns. They were short shaky downhill runs, my turns were sloppy, but I couldn't stop smiling at the exhilarating speed I found.

Saturday afternoon, my mom and dad and I went out to Markhamville for a cross country ski party. The Pownings and McKegs maintain miles of trails through their big rolling hills. There were all levels of skiers there so we split among trails described as Easy, Intermediate, and Kamikaze.

The "Kamikaze" trail wound up to the top of the ridge through birch groves, skirted a deep ravine, cut sharp turns through spruce forest, crossed a hill top blueberry field, then finally charged its way down into the Markhamville Valley on a series of fast descents. The 6" of powder provided beautiful glide and was just the right weight to carve cross country skis into. I'll admit I was snowplowing down some of those tight runs.

From the Valley Bottom, rows of hardwood and spruce hills tapered off into the Fundy Highlands. Markhamville is the last settled farming valley before the Fundy Coast.

Climbing back out of the valley to dinner, Dave and I couldn't resist turning our skis around and pointing them down hill. Starting down the long hill I imagined broken bones and was glad that Dave, the ER doctor, was skiing behind me. Luckily the turns came at the top before I picked up more speed then I knew what to do with on three pin cross country skis!

After dinner we gathered together a posse for night skiing on some gentle trails. The moon exploded through gaps of racing clouds lightning. We could feel the wind blowing in warmer weather signaling the end of this week's powder.

Cross country skiing brings me so much happiness in winter. It's a way to escape cabin fever, explore new terrain, play like a kid again, and generate some well deserved heat in winter. It can be fast and wild or slow and gentle. Either way, the smooth rhythm of gliding skis always helps me breathe. My mind becomes calm and my thinking clear. The more I ski the better I feel.

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