Skiing from the door

A fine dump of snow: first a few inches that stayed around for days, then a topping off that meant the blanket was complete for a week.

I was doubtful about my skills on the planks so the first effort was to giggle down the hill and then chuck-foot up and down the canal. Didn’t fall in once and enjoyed meself immensely. From there, interspersed with a little snow-biking, I was out every day while it lay round about. The Pennine Way was fun—good to prove it’s potential—but hard going because the wind had blown away the powder leaving a combination of ice and stones which made progress jerky. Yesterday I toured around the sand hill at Chelburn, finding foot-deep powder on the shoulder of the moor covering a path that, just a week earlier, was a rocky bicycle descent. Leaning well back, I glided slowly down with boots sinking and sailing, tentatively pushing out into imitation telemark turns and feeling very privileged to live in such a beautiful, skiable area. Over the week, I reminded myself about parallel and skating skiing, on level, up- and downhill runs over hard-pack, ice and powder. Just what I needed to get my muscle memory returning.

Few of the adventurers I met in the cold recognised my activity as different from downhill skiing; most asked if I was looking for a hill. When one of the neighbours, skittering down the lane with a snow shovel to dig out his car, laughed at my kit, I said, “You’re the one that looks funny. How can you not wear skis on a day like this?”.

One day, I met another neighbour who proudly announce that she was going skiing too, but in Switzerland. What a waste of energy and time. Besides, downhill skiing is just an expensive pastime, given that most of the effort belongs to the machinery to get you to the top of the hill. The “skier”‘s contribution is insignificant. I wee on their black runs.

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