What made you start XC skiing?

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Neuro
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What made you start XC skiing?

Postby Neuro » Tue Dec 19, 2017 2:12 pm

Would be interesting to hear what got you on to cross country skiing. Family, tradition, school or just by yourself? At what age? Was things organized?

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Re: What made you start XC skiing?

Postby Pat » Wed Dec 20, 2017 9:58 am

I'd say what peaked my interest was when I was in high school and competing in track and field, the fact that guys like Lasse Viren and Pekka Versala where using cross country skiing as a major part of their training, got me interested. Later Greg Lemond said that it was the major part of his off season training. Unfortunately I mostly didn't live in a location where there were much equipment to rent or later in areas where there was no snow. So that is what planted the seed and years later started doing some in-line skating using poles, slide board and Nordic Trac. It wasn't until 2011 that I started purchasing skis and getting out whenever I could and then started with CAT Skis, Skikes, and now classic roller skis. Honestly I enjoy the heck out of it and like the fact that I can repeat difficult workouts on any version of the above and not get torn up like I would if I was running that hard. Having said that I still like to run but limit it to once a week but still remain competitive because of the Nordic stuff and some other things like a bit of yoga and some strength maintenance etc...

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Magnus Johansson
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Re: What made you start XC skiing?

Postby Magnus Johansson » Wed Dec 20, 2017 2:30 pm

Neuro wrote:Would be interesting to hear what got you on to cross country skiing. Family, tradition, school or just by yourself? At what age? Was things organized?

I started cross-country skiing when I was around 5 years old, I believe. It was a traditional activity to ski in the winter, and it was also a part of children's play. In school, in grades 1-6 (age 7-12), we often skied several times per day in the winter and we had a school championship every year. Since then, cross-country skiing has stayed an important activity although I practice it a lot less now than I did as a child and teenager.

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Re: What made you start XC skiing?

Postby Val LiCon » Wed Dec 20, 2017 4:34 pm

I originally started backcountry skiing as a way to make my backpacking season a year round activity. When just out of college a friend suggested I try a XC ski race because he knew I was a runner. I went to the race, missed the wax by a mile, bonked after 5K in a 20 K race, and managed a DNF at the 10K mark. I was hooked. Forty years later I have figured out the wax, smoothed the technique and just can't get enough.

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Re: What made you start XC skiing?

Postby FrontRunner » Thu Dec 21, 2017 7:14 am

Started in the late seventies with wood touring skis when the boom started. Two years later followed a couple of buddies to do the Birkebeiner and fell under the spell of Tony Wise...as they say the rest is history, have been skiing and racing for 40 years. Now wonder about the future of the sport due to climate change, cost, and fewer young folks getting involved.

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Re: What made you start XC skiing?

Postby rmattson » Thu Dec 21, 2017 12:21 pm

I skied when I was very young with my father at the local trails here and in the U.P. mostly trudging though snow making our own trails. Through my teens and 20's I had other interests than nordic skiing. When the founder of this site passed in 2008, his wife gave me a set of his skis and poles and I started to skate ski for the first time.
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Re: What made you start XC skiing?

Postby dcpattie » Thu Dec 21, 2017 4:58 pm

I got injured with a "sports hernia" (which isn't an actual hernia but abdominal/hip flexor injury) and wanted to keep active. Hip flexion was a problem but DPing on rollerskis was pain free. So that's how I got started. I was a 41-year old newbie!
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Re: What made you start XC skiing?

Postby davidb » Thu Dec 21, 2017 9:53 pm

I was 35, grossly over weight, smoking 3 packs a day, and having daily chest pains. The doc insisted that I quit smoking, lose weight and exercise. I was OK with losing weight and quitting smoking, but there was no way I was going to jog, or even walk further than to the fridge for another beer.

But during this period, I distinctly remember watching the winter games and being a bit annoyed when ABC switched away from bobsled to show a few seconds of XC. But I was kinda interested when I saw some really hot Norwegian girl gliding effortlessly across a flat. It appeared to me that this was just barely a sport, but it sure looked easy, a perfect low stress excercise for me!

I tried it and almost died; the instructor suggested that I try snowshoes, but I was completely hooked. Looking back I have no idea why; that first day was awful!.

I entered a race the next season and I would have finished next to last, but, as I recall, I had sneak off the trail to stop for a smoke and got smoked by a lady in her eighties . Haven't had a cigarette since.

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Re: What made you start XC skiing?

Postby Neuro » Fri Dec 22, 2017 7:27 am

Fun story David 8)

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Re: What made you start XC skiing?

Postby JeffOYB » Fri Dec 22, 2017 2:36 pm

I started at age 17 for a spirit of adventure and the idea of jumping. Also I sensed that it was like regular skiing only I didn't have to go anywhere or pay anything to do it. I could explore, glide, and find downhills where we could go for speed and jumps.

Then I saw that some girls were liking it.

I also saw that some fun guys were doing it with a lot of gusto, chasing each other around in really technical terrain, screaming, being crazy.

It fit right in for me with my summers of bike riding. The same people were doing it. So I found more ppl to ski with. And it seemed like there'd be a sauna culture as part of it. I always liked the idea of a summertime skinnydipping culture but bikers didn't do much of that. I remember after my very first group ski outing that everybody was hot and steamy and six of us all changed clothes in one big old van. Everybody took their clothes off. It wasn't a sauna but the naked girls and laughing just seemed super.

I also got into biking because fun wild girls were doing it. This was in the early 80's and there was a women's lib thing happening in outdoor sport where people were going outside and having wild fun, picnics, campouts, with no adult supervision. Seemed like a good idea!

Sport + adventure + romance = go for it!

Before biking and skiing I had always done a lot of hunting and fishing and I remember hoping to come around a river bend while fishing and bump into a girl, who was fishing or just outside... No girls I knew at school or around town did anything outdoors. So I felt I had to explore to find them... But fishing never yielded any romantic results. Ha! I'm glad I found biking and skiing!

Funny what motivates people. And it's also funny how some ppl can consider things like biking and skiing to not be all that girl-oriented or welcoming. Thankfully I got into it when it was. Of course it still is in some regards. Everybody likes fresh air!
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Re: What made you start XC skiing?

Postby PortlandORXCER » Fri Dec 22, 2017 4:54 pm

Started in the early 80's on Boy Scout winter camps, ungroomed trails. Did that off and on for about 10 yrs. Took up running and other things in the early 90's to lose weight, skiing was one of those other things that helped keep me in shape in winter.

But what really hooked me into the racing scene was the 1994 Lillehammer Olympics. The next season I bought a combi race package and despite a very sparse winter (94-95) was able to train for the 58k Vasaloppet in Mora, MN. I think my finish time was something like 5:40. The sun was starting to get pretty low in the sky when I rolled into the mostly empty downtown, with only the hearty volunteers there to greet me.

That race still has a special place in my heart.

Every year now I threaten to quit, mostly because it's a 90 min drive to the snow, and much longer if there is a skier traffic jam. But, once I click into the bindings and take off, I remember why I love the sport.

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Re: What made you start XC skiing?

Postby jt10000 » Sat Dec 23, 2017 5:33 am

I started skiing in college on my college's ski team. We had a good team (competitive in Division II in the northeast US at the time - a few years after I graduated it went to Division I). The team was very small, so they were open to someone with no skiing experience but some fitness joining the team. I knew several of the team members through bike racing. I started the winter of junior year, and stayed on for senior year. Loved it.

This was in the 1980s when skating was the norm in all races, so I only learned to skate (plus downhill techniques). Or, in two years on the team, our coach took us out once or twice to try classic, but just because he hoped we'd learn it at some point for ourselves. But in my time diagonal striding or kick double pole were never used in our races.

With very little time on snow in my life, I was one of the worst guys in the division - typically in the bottom ten of about 80 racers at events. My best result was 21st in a race that required really careful pacing (which was something we focused on a lot on my team); almost everyone on the other teams blew up. I actually went off course in that race which was annoying, as otherwise I'd have been top 20 for sure.

I only learned to classic ski about 12 or 15 years ago, taking a lesson and doing it a bit when I can.
Last edited by jt10000 on Sun Dec 24, 2017 7:32 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: What made you start XC skiing?

Postby LewLasher » Sun Dec 24, 2017 6:20 am

I did not have any exposure to snow sports (other than sledding down a hill) when I was growing up, or even in college.

While I was in college, however, the Boston area was hit by a then-record-setting blizzard. During the weeklong state of emergency that ensued, a travel ban reserved the public streets for emergency vehicles. The resulting vacuum was filled by cross-country skiers, who came out of the proverbial woodwork to clog up the snow-covered streets.

And also the (frozen and snow-covered) Charles River, where I nearly got into a fistfight with a skier who complained that I - then a pedestrian - was ruining the ski tracks on what I reminded him was "a public river, not a ski area."

Nonetheless, it occurred to me in the following years that I should have something to do in the winter to take up the slack from bicycling. At the time, there was a small neighborhood store that sold skis. I went and bought a set of skis (which I later learned were about 25 cm too short for me). And, over the course of some 5 years, I gradually figured out how to use them.

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Magnus Johansson
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Re: What made you start XC skiing?

Postby Magnus Johansson » Sun Dec 24, 2017 7:27 am

LewLasher wrote:And also the (frozen and snow-covered) Charles River, where I nearly got into a fistfight with a skier who complained that I - then a pedestrian - was ruining the ski tracks on what I reminded him was "a public river, not a ski area."

Wasn't the river wide enough for both a couple of ski tracks and some paths?

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Re: What made you start XC skiing?

Postby Magnus Johansson » Sun Dec 24, 2017 7:31 am

Neuro wrote:Would be interesting to hear what got you on to cross country skiing. Family, tradition, school or just by yourself? At what age? Was things organized?

Would you like to tell us your story?


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