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Myself — not that tough of a rival

An article in the Wall Street Journal talked about Saudi developers bringing artificial snow engineers to a mountainside in the southern Aseer region to determine if it will hold the white stuff.

“The idea is to have a snow village,” says Ziyad Ahmed Zaidan, president of the Idea Network in Jedda, Saudi Arabia, “with tobogganing and other winter sports. The moment you can create snow, you have infinite uses.”

Indeed, we, too, have infinite uses for our God-given snow. A number of heavy snowfalls have brought winter sports enthusiasts out.

At Wolf Creek Ski Area, I admit it’s a wonderful thing to see “side-ways aiming” folks carving turns on a single board and ordinary, “forward facing” folks heading downhill on two long boards. But I’ve been awed by cross-country skiers gliding by moonlight and super-charged hockey players schussing on ice skates.

Ski skating, a brand of cross-country skiing, is my fave. As a ski skater, I do all right as long as the course is flat, the surface is corduroy and I don’t have to race anyone but myself.

You cannot call me an athlete on skate skis. I ski because it’s great exercise for my lungs, it gets me out of doors and out of my head, it’s good for me — and because I relish enterprise that requires no new equipment purchases. I’ve been using my son’s equipment from 20 years ago. But athletic ambition did recently compel me to buy new equipment that fits me better.

Back to athletic ambition — if it can be defined as the will to pour on the heat precisely when the body tells you to chill, then my body usually thwarts my ambition when I’m on skate skis. A generous observer might say I compete against myself.

Myself just isn’t that tough of a rival.

I truly do want to be a better ski skater so I can at least pretend to keep up with my husband and keep him within yelling distance if I should come face-to-face with a hungry mountain lion on some lonely forested trail. To be better, I suppose I had better take a lesson.

The Pagosa Nordic Club will host a free “Learn to Cross-Country Ski and Snowshoe Clinic” on Saturday, Jan. 9, at the Alpine Haus Ski Center located at the golf course clubhouse. The event will start at 9 a.m. and participants will be able to choose from beginner to intermediate levels of skate skiing, classic cross country skiing and snowshoeing instruction. Check with local ski shops as they will be offering discounted gear for the event. You will need to rent your gear prior to the event. This free event is designed to introduce and familiarize people to the sports of skate skiing, classic cross country skiing or snowshoeing. All ages are encouraged to attend. Learn about Nordic skiing and some great techniques from some of Pagosa Springs best skiers and snowshoers. Sign up by going to the PagosaNordic.com Web page.

The Pagosa Nordic Club has expanded Nordic ski trail grooming this winter which now includes five Nordic track trailheads with more than 50km of trails groomed for skate skiing, classic cross country skiing and snowshoeing. New this season is Reservoir Hill, Coyote Hill, Turkey Springs, Williams Creek and the expanded West Fork trail system. The Nordic Club’s new grooming equipment will provide a smooth wide surface for skate skiing with set tracks for classic cross country skiing. Trails accommodate all ability levels, beginner to advanced. Daily trail conditions and grooming reports, as well as event information is available on their PagosaNordic.com Web page.

Add to this the 140-plus kilometers of multi-use trails groomed by the Trailblazers Snowmobile Club, the complimentary cross-country trail at Wolf Creek Ski Area, and the golf course loop maintained by the Alpen Haus, and it is clear to see we live in a winter sports paradise. Information on these Nordic ski trails can be found at www.pagosatrails.net.