Verticality Rocks!

It’s snowing again.

Winter scene

If you’re in New England, you’re probably thinking, “Big shock, right?” Counting today, it’s snowed four or five times in the last nine days. Honestly, I’ve lost track of when the snow came. What I do know is that I drove to Boston a couple Saturdays ago when the first snow arrived. The storm flipped tractor-trailers on the Mass Pike and turned a half-hour drive into an hour-and-twenty-minute limp to a work commitment downtown that I couldn’t miss. Fortunately I was able to ski fresh snow on the way home after changing into my ski garb in a bathroom of the Sheraton at Copley Place.

That skiing was pretty good, although it turned a little sloppy near the end when the temperature rose and the snow turned to sleet. I almost made it all the way around the 1K loop without falling, but (alas!) I did buy it with just 50-ish yards to go. The skiing made me eager to do more, as did watching ski videos on YouTube. “I wish there was somewhere really close I could go to try out the technique tips I’m seeing online,” I thought.

So I asked some sporty online friends how to groom my backyard for skate skiing. I got some good advice from someone who “may have tried this before,” as well as some less good advice (“spend $50K for a consultant to groom it for you”). After a half-hour of tramping around in skis in my backyard, I had something mostly skiable. I just didn’t have enough light to take advantage of it.

Ski track before the storm

Then the winter storm hit.


My town got about 30-36 inches of fluffy snow, and—after digging myself out—I had a harder time turning all of that fluffiness into something I could ski . . . despite my best efforts. I’ve decided to call my ski track “Moby Dick,” because it’s a big, white, ridiculous whale of an undertaking.

The morning after

Digging out

Clearly I need one of these.

The right way to groom snow

So yesterday I went back to the ski track first thing before going into work for the afternoon. (It’s really very atypical for me to work on the weekends, much less two weekends in a row.)


Yesterday was, without a doubt, the best day I’ve ever had on skis. It was sunny and cool, and the snow was freshly prepared. There were a lot of people at Weston, but it didn’t feel crowded. I practiced double-poling. I practiced free skating (skiing without poles). I practiced my “two skate.” I did an acceptable herringbone up a hill.

About halfway through my ski, things started to really click. I was using the edge of my skis better as I pushed off, and my glide was going farther, too. I felt more sure in my balance. There’s still not a lot of power or speed in my legs—and I can feel how awkward it must look—but I managed to stay upright for the entire hour I was out. I’m considering that a major accomplishment! In fact, it’s my first time on skis where I didn’t land on my ass, shoulder, or face.


Even better, I was actually starting to have a good time. A few times I got into a good rhythm, and it felt a bit like meditation. I lost myself in the moment and felt confidence wash over me in a way that it had never done before while I’ve skied.

Monday snow

And, as I wrote earlier, it’s snowing again. Add these 12-18 inches to the 40 or so that we’ve already received and then throw in the very cold temperatures we’ve had recently, and the rest of February looks good for skiing. Tomorrow and Wednesday, Robyn (my fellow newbie) and I are going skiing after work. I’m really looking forward to it!

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One Response to Verticality Rocks!

  1. Scully says:

    your dedication is amazing, I love it!
    I grew up on xc skis, the classic kind and now that ryan and I have back country skis its a whole lot different.
    I never thought about it before because I have been skiing since I was about 10 but it’s not an easy sport with the coordination and balance. I still fall because I enjoy doing stupid things like flying down a hill and trying to carve like I have downhill skis on. BAM

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