There’s no denying it. After the Birkie the pressure is off. No more push to get in more and more kilometers. No more anxiety over doing a weekly long ski. Now is the time to go out and ski for the mere pleasure of it. That sounds bad – like it’s a grueling regimen and something we “have to do” when training for the Birkie. Not so, really. I enjoy the demands of that process too. But there is a difference.
This morning dawned clear, sunny and cold. I was very surprised to see the temperature had fallen below zero. But at this time of year the rising sun quickly warms the air and by mid morning it was already in the mid-20s.
A friend came over and the two of us walked over to the Lester/Amity ski trails. We donned our classic skis and headed down the tracks. This was not a speed session, it was all about sharing a love for the outdoors, the sport, a workout and friendship. We talked as we skied, covering myriad topics as we poled and kicked. Hesitating at intersections became a good excuse stop and talk some more. We ran into a good friend and fellow skier, and of course spent time talking to him. It was the epitome of a relaxed outing yet we still covered many kilometers at a decent pace.
The day had all the nuances of a spring day, with warm sunshine, brilliant snow, deep blue sky and warm temps. The snow and trail conditions were far too good for spring skiing, but we had all the benefits of what felt like balmy weather. Kids from the local grade school were out with teachers and parents practicing their skiing skills. They couldn’t have picked a better day. Adults populated the trail, all happy to exchange greetings and exclaim over the beautiful day. I’d never seen so many people out mid-day. It was the kind of day where I wanted to stay out and keep skiing forever. In fact, I’ll admit to returning to ski again later with my skate skis.
At this stage in the winter, every day of skiing could be our last. One good melt can turn the trails into either an icy or a muddy mess. It made this ski even sweeter.
Yes, there are benefits to having the races behind us. Social skiing is definitely one of them.