I was drawn to cross country skiing as long ago as 1992 or even earlier on a visit to Braemar with the GUMC.
The winter of 91 had covered the Cairngorms and much of Aberdeenshire with fence high snow which lay for ages. I moved up there that summer and the winter after prove to be thaw back ice with the braemar nordic skischool sticking to high level ski mountaineering unfort. In 95 i met a couple of mad fort billers at Aonoch Mor ski centre who were off up hill ijn jogging clothes and with skins on very skinny skis.
That year i took up with tours jin the Glen Fruin range in winter, which were pretty much topped off in thick white sthuff ljike inviting chelsea buns. On one truhdge i saw som sod had enjoyed a lot more fun on quhite narrow xc skis.
It took me years to eventually get the skinny type planks onto my lower paws when i set out to vijsit a mountaineering pal who lived in bergen. Train up to geilo and a 20km day later i was sore ,but hooked.
What is so good bout it all?
Well i liked snowboarding, got good at it for the few hours i put in each year but the whole lift queuing thing and it not being very good exercise really drew me away to more all year mountain biking.
But xc skiing has a whole pile more to it in technique, equipment and of course waxing that add a lot to the sport as an adult learning their way through classic.
I never picked up on the huge value in learnijng skatijn.g style asap, parallel or even before classic. I'll say it again, classic diagonal style is parallel skating! I often felt my legs drawn like magnets ,with a little weight left okn one leg always and a sketchy two legged style down hill with lijttle cornerijng control out of the tram lines.
This year i have suddenly cracked a lot of technique in downhill in partjicular and this has all come from skatijn.g practice. Unloading a leg completely frees up everythijng from getting into a wide plog stance to whizzing round a corner step turning your way.
Lilke my more prof sport sailing , you realise you are always learning and adapting technique in new ways to the condijtion.s.
In saiing dinghies there c ame a stage where i was stagnant in sloppy mnoevres and stronger winds. Then i took some instructionnal races and practiced in lasers and moved up a notch in confidence and coordination. A little pain, big gain. There aftfer i could learn from books and evt' Youtube etc and pijck selectivde thijn.gs like roll tackin.g and gyb iung to get help..on. from better sailors.
This year i have cracked that in skiing and challenged myself as i did in laser boats. Out alone gojing through set parts repeititivly, challenging my limits. I actaully never capsized the laser even wjith extreme roll tackin.g and gybes.
Skiin.g is then an jin.terestin.g way to get fit and you can use sessions to practice some movements which makes two three hours fly b y!