I have never been more grateful to be on skis.
Nine months into a global pandemic and Madison has been blanketed in snow from a few storms over the holiday season. I can’t begin to put into words how good it felt to be out on the ski trails.
I read a trail report on the MadNorSki club website that said it best, “Saw 12 people out skiing, everyone’s face hurts from smiling.”
On December 30th, I chose Elver Park for first time on skis this season. We had just gotten four inches of snow the night before, so the trail was soft, but forgiving, giving me the confidence to take on some of the hills despite my lack of training. I started out wearing my standard pandemic-era mask, but it was quickly soaked from breath and sweat and once I saw several other skiers not wearing masks I ditched it.
Yesterday, January 2nd, I met a friend at the trails on Odana and it was packed, but I was pleased to see that there are more trails groomed than I remember so it didn’t feel too crazy busy on the trails. I’ve never seen that many people out there.
Then today I skied Pleasant View in Middleton. It was a little disorienting because the trail head had moved again from last year and also from a few years ago. I needed to check in with another skier to make sure I wasn’t going the wrong way, but once I got started, the familiar slopes quickly kicked my ass in the best way.
A heavy blanket of hoarfrost clung to all of the branches making the trail appear as a fairy wonderland. There were also a ton of other skiers out, but the expanded trails left me alone for long stretches of my ski, while other times, it was nice to be among other skiers.
I’m not signed up for any ski races this year due to a lack of time for training and there will be no lessons due to the coronavirus. But I’m grateful for any time I can get on my skis this year. Given the fact that nordic skis are flying off the shelves like toilet paper in March 2020, I’m glad to own a pair.
Here’s hoping that we can keep our snow, continue to get another few inches here and there and keep all of us outside this winter to gather those deep breaths of fresh air until we can all be together inside again.