I used to do a lot of Nordic skiing back in the day. Otherwise known as cross-country skiing. I’m a downhill skier these days, but once in a while you have to use those old X-C skills.

The best spot at the Mt Shasta Ski Park isn’t actually in the Ski Park but in the adjacent Forest Service lands. You get their via a chairlift, but you have to cross the boundary to access the area.

Today the off-piste skiing was hard going and we had to get around on the groomed runs. Fortunately the killer powder stash was in good shape and we were able to get in some big, fun, freshie runs. The road back to the Ski Park had not been plowed or groomed so it was a bit of work getting out the first time. A couple of guys had broken the trail so it wasn’t too bad. Soon enough a flock of powderhounds had hit the same slope and the same route back and the return trail got easier.

It’s a good workout, walking and/or skiing on a relatively level surface. At one point I loosened the top buckle of my boots so I could effect more of a kick-and-glide style, but with alpine (fixed-heel) bindings, there’s only so much flex, and it isn’t very efficient. I did a lot of old-fashioned tromping, not to mention plenty of vigorous poling, to propel myself. And there were spots where one could get a good skating rhythm going. That’s always satisfying because you can get up some speed and feel like your knocking off the yards quickly.

The sun came out and the blue skies and mountain views were spectacular. As much as I enjoy downhill skiing, I miss the peace and quiet (and lack of crowds) that come with cross-country skiing. It’s a whole different world outside the resort boundary. I think I need more of that.

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