Buns of Steel and other benefits of Cross Country Skiing

>> Tuesday, 1 February 2011

So you've finally become what you can proudly refer to as 'an adequate downhill skier'. Sure, it's taken you 16 years of bruises, strains, aching muscles, embarrassing falls on the flat, freakouts on gentle slopes, temper tantrums with your beloved when the easy blue he suggested suddenly became an icy red, and one or two tangles with snow-boarders (remember that one who jumped onto the run and hit you with so much force that you both flew up into the air and you - ha ha! - landed heavily on top of him?), but after the weekend before last skiing with your girlfriends, you now feel reasonably confident with a couple of bendy boards strapped to your feet.

You can do it. Not elegantly, perhaps. Certainly not stylishly. And with precious little technique, it has to be said. But for what seems like the first time in all those years, you had a seminal moment when you realised that amazingly, you weren't the worst skier in the group. Not even the second worst.

What better time, then, to take on a new challenge? Like, say, cross country skiing? I mean, you live in Moscow, where cross country skiing is the outside exercise of choice for many during the long winter. (Well, that and skating, but you aren't quite crazy enough to try that one; there's throwing yourself down a mountain at high speed and then there's stepping onto a frozen lake with a couple of razors beneath your feet and trying to survive the experience without any broken bones. No, I'll leave that to my kids, thanks very much...)

So you go out, buy what I can only describe as the most subterranean of bargain basement kit (as your Dutch - for which read 'careful with money' - Husband points out; just in case you don't enjoy it there's not point spending too much cash on this), and head off into the nearby forest with some girlfriends to work up a sweat and take in the sunshine on this frosty -10degC day, where you discover the following:

You still know how to fall on the flat.
You still don't know how to do that stylishly.
This cross-country ski lark is bloody hard work (although if I keep it up I fully expect to have buns of steel by the end of February, based on the amount of pain my muscles are in today)
It's just as possible to end up on top of a frozen lake - albeit covered with snow - when you're skiing as skating.
Serious Russian cross country skiers get quite cross if they find their way blocked by a group of chattering women stopped to admire the naked - yes, NAKED - 50 year old lady taking a dip in the ice hole at the edge of said frozen lake (jesus, just ski around us - there's a whole lake to use, for chrissake!).
There is a one-way system on the lake. A ONE WAY SYSTEM, you stupid foreign woman...

And yes, last but not least; you are once again the worst skier in the group.

(As I said to the friends I was out with; it's so nice to find a sport at which I'm a natural after all these years....)


Domestic Goddesque 1 February 2011 at 13:06  

Disappointed about the lack of pictures. Naked women and angry Russian skiers? Sounds like a Bond Film...

Potty Mummy 1 February 2011 at 13:29  

FA - quite possibly. Or, just Russian. (Which is in no way the same thing).

Expatresse; of the lady? More than my life was worth...

DG, oh well of course that's my life, one long Bond movie. Of course I can't write about that or I'ld have to kill you.

Mwa 1 February 2011 at 20:44  

I don't think I could ever try cross-country skiing. It just looks like TOO MUCH WORK. Well done you, though. For doing SO MUCH WORK.

nappy valley girl 1 February 2011 at 22:56  

I tried it for the first time at Christmas. Didn't mind it so much on the flat (although very tiring - but you have to think of the calorie-burining effects) but going downhill on cross country skis was truly terrifying. I had some of the worst falls I've had in years on tiny little sloping sections.

Muddling Along Mummy 2 February 2011 at 16:34  

Naked in those conditions - can't decide if I'm impressed or worried for her sanity

Buns of steel do sound attractive but not sure if that isn't a price too far to pay

PantsWithNames 9 February 2011 at 21:54  

Cross Country skiing is torture - I tried it once when I was fit and it took me days to recover.

There weren't any naked Russian swimmers though, don't think the Swiss go in for that sort of thing much!

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