Nordic for the first time | AspenTimes.com
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Nordic for the first time

Joel Stonington

I placed my feet into the boots the kind folks at the Aspen Cross Country Center offered me during the annual Cross Country Ski Extravaganza and realized that nordic style is barely beyond bowling-shoe style.Walking around outside and checking out the black stretch pants with shocking neon green boots at the bottom, it became clear bowling style might even be in the lead. But once I had overcome my boring materialistic inclinations and started stretching out a bit on the course, I was shocked to find how much fun it is to do a few laps on the course. I did have to get the skis on first. Which was a simple undertaking of, as one person told me, just shoving my toe into the binding. I was surprised at the little click, and then I was attached. I also found it a little unnerving how slippery the skis were. I’ve been alpine skiing for more than 20 years, but without a heel attached I was disarmed and unsteady. However, I got my sunglasses on (staying in cross-country style mode by having them outside my hat), started getting a bit of the movement while in the nicely groomed grooves, and gained a little speed. I couldn’t help but feel like it would be a great thing to do in the early mornings. For a few moments I could see myself getting up every morning and getting out there just as the clouds were turning pink with the rising sun. I saw myself doing a few laps around the golf course just to warm up the day and feel at one with the earth. Ahhh, I thought, I am a nordic man.Then I got back to the cross-country center and turned in my gear. I went out and ate about five cookies, felt tired and started to remember that I’m not so much of a morning person. Alas. Then I remembered the raffle and made a solemn promise to become a nordic master if I won a pair of skis.Not only did I not win a whole new nordic setup at the raffle, I didn’t even win a hat or neon green plastic sled/shovel. And I was all ready to go crazy if I won even so much as a pair of ski ties. I guess that will just have to wait until next year when they have the inaugural nordic bowling extravaganza.Snow reportA storm that swept through Aspen Sunday brought up to 10 inches of new snow to local slopes. The Aspen Skiing Co. is reporting 10 inches of fresh stuff at Snowmass in the past 24 hours, 9 inches on Aspen Mountain and 7 inches at Highlands and Buttermilk.Avalanche reportThe backcountry avalanche danger in the Roaring Fork Valley is moderate with pockets of considerable at and above treeline. Below treeline the danger is moderate.Backcountry travelers should be very cautious near and above treeline on terrain steeper than 30 degrees. They should also be aware that a snowpack that looks deep and strong at the top of a start zone may change as they get lower, and travelers can trigger slides from further down the slope.Avalanche danger details are provided by the Roaring Fork Avalanche Center. For more information, call 920-1664 or visit http://www.rfavalanche.org. For conditions around the state, call the Colorado Avalanche Information Center at 920-1664 or visit geosurvey.state.co.us/avalanche.


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