As most of you know, I spent the last seven winters in the Methow Valley, a wonderful place that, in addition to endless trails for running, biking, and hiking, also has the largest cross country ski trail network in the country. No matter to me, however, until the last couple of years when I decided to take the time to actually learn to ski and have it be fun, rather than a suffer fest. As it turns out, it's possible to run for hours at a time and only use a few muscles-not so for Nordic skiing. Skate skiing in particular, has a steep learning curve, but after a few tips and the fitness that running provides, one can move down a trail and have a surprising amount of fun!
I jumped into a couple of races two years ago and was a little bummed out to find that people don't tend to hop into ski races like they do running races. I simultaneously totally understood (skiers can be intimidating) but knew my fellow endurance buds would love it. So I was excited this fall to get an email about helping introduce more runners to the sport.
During MVSTA's Nordic Festival weekend in late January, Rainshadow Running is hosting a 15k snow running race on the super fun snowshoe trails at Sun Mountain (some of the same trails that are in the 25/50k in May), then a skiing friend and I are teaching a free skate skiing clinic for runners in Mazama later that afternoon, that will help prepare you for a fun day of skiing on Sunday. The race on Sunday is your choice of a 30k from Mazama to Winthrop either solo or as part of a team, or a 10k. Then, there's a party after the ski. It's going to be so fun! If you're injured, or just want a change, skiing is the perfect way to get strong and fit for running. Plus, an added benefit of starting something completely new is that you improve quite quickly! If you don't have time to get to a clinic beforehand, have no fear. There are lots of things you can do to prepare here in the lowlands. If there is enough interest, I'd be happy to have a dryland clinic. Email me if you'd like to see something like that and I'll make it happen.
In other skiing news, Sam is offering two clinics this winter as a fundraiser for his new junior ski program, Momentum Northwest, both at Cabin Creek. The beginner's clinic is January 10 from 12-2, and the intermediate clinic is February 7th. The beginning clinic is a perfect chance to get comfortable on skis and support youth athletics while you're at it. Sam is a fantastic instructor, as proven by the fact that he can effectively teach even his wife. His clinics are limited to ten people, so sign up early for that one, if you're interested.
After all of that, if you still want more cross training (which you will...sun...snow...blue skies), I've opened up registration for the Women's Ski and Yoga Retreat, which also fills. Then, once the spring comes, running will be a breeze!