Outside with Charlie: XC skiing

By From page A9 | February 28, 2014


We all know this winter has been stingy with the snow. The ski resorts had to make their own snow and continue to do so.

While the resorts keep a fair amount of coverage on the trails for the downhill crowd, the other winter skiers, the cross country types and snowshoe enthusiasts, have had to wait.

Cross-country skiers are a diverse group. If you’ve watched the Olympics, you may have noticed how skinny the skis are. Those particular skis aren’t available to the general public but skinny skis are available.

If you go to a cross-country center, perhaps Royal Gorge, Kirkwood, or Tahoe Cross-Country, you’ll find groomed trails.

On these groomed trails, you’ll find some tracks laid into them, in addition to the simply groomed area. Skiers on these trails will be skate skiing, what Olympians do, and they also ski in the tracks, using a kick and glide method.

Once you head out into the back country, you’ll see cross-country skis that are wider with a bit of a parabolic shape.

We headed up to Hope Valley for some cross-country skiing in that broad expanse of rolling meadow on the north side of Highway 88, stretching from Pickett’s Junction to the Blue Lakes road but found no snow to ski on either side of Highway 88

Directly across from junction of Highways 88 and 89, Pickett’s Junction, is where Hope Valley XC is. It is on the south side of road, and is protected by a north facing slope. You can ski there, and up the Burnside Lake Road.

Up past Blue Lakes Road it’s amazing what a few feet of elevation will get you — between a foot and two feet of snow to ski on. The snow was perfect for kicking and gliding, and generally skiing about.

If you’re an XC skier, right now you’ll have to head to higher terrain to find a spot. It’s worth it. The skiing is pretty good. Any time out there is worth it.

Keep up the snow dance. We need it.

Charlie Ferris

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