On the (nordic) trail: First tracks, no rocks
November 16, 2009
ASPEN – I’ve long since given up keeping a pair of “rock skis” around in order to make pre-season turns on the local slopes, preferring as I do to ski on snow, not rocks, but a friend and I couldn’t resist making tracks in Saturday’s fresh snow.
It finally looked like winter in Aspen, so we dragged out our waxless cross-country skis and headed for the city golf course. The course isn’t being groomed for nordic skiing yet, but even if we scraped bare ground, we figured it would be grass, not rocks, so why not?
There was, I’d estimate, 7 to 8 inches of fresh, surprisingly fluffy snow on the ground and we enjoyed the proverbial first tracks, as no one else had ventured out on skis ahead of us. In fact, we had the golf course to ourselves, but for a couple of groups of youngsters who were sledding down some very short downhill pitches.
The route where the nordic tracks will be set had already been staked, so it was easy to follow the designated outer loop around the course.
It was only the second time I’ve reached for the used, waxless skis I acquired a couple of seasons back, but they were the perfect choice. No wax, no hassle, and I got a nice glide out of them. Generally, I think waxing up makes for a far superior nordic experience, particularly when the snow is cold, but it was warm enough Saturday that the waxless skis worked perfectly.
Kicking and gliding around the golf course for a little over an hour apparently worked my muscles in an unfamiliar way. I could feel it in my butt, later.
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Once the cross-country season is in full swing, I pretty much avoid the golf course religiously. The terrain isn’t particularly challenging and I can think of prettier places to ski, but for a taste of things to come, it was the ideal choice.
Now I’m jonesing for the sight of crisply laid parallel tracks and corduroy at the high school, North Star and on the Owl Creek Trail.
The scheduled opening of the Aspen Cross Country Center, at the golf course, is Nov. 26. The Snowmass Cross Country Center, on the Snowmass Club golf course, is scheduled to open Dec. 12, according to the Ute Mountaineer, which operates the centers.