The extremely cold weather has been on a roll lately… our area became the coldest place on Earth in early February. I’m hopeful that the cold snap will end soon… as my series of winter activities posts is coming to an end (for now). 😉 After talking about my amusing experience with snowboarding, skating, winter hiking, and downhill skiing, let’s move on to cross-country skiing.
Growing up in a country that only has rainy and dry season – both of which are hot compared to the freezing weather in Canada – I have very little concept of winter activities, especially cross-country skiing. For all I know, it’s skiing all over the country… literally! 😐 😬
One weekend, Jellybean and I drove to Lost Creek Resort at Prince Albert National Park for me to have a first hand experience on cross-country skiing on groomed trails. To put it simply, imagine a train going along a set of railway tracks… it’s similar to that idea. Cross-country skiing on groomed trails is like skiing on a “railway” track.
I found it restricting at first because it’s not free-flowing like downhill skiing is, you have to stay within the constraints of the track to ski smoothly. It’s important to have enough momentum to make it up the hill and not slide back down. Otherwise, you have to walk funny going up the slope… either walking sideways or “skating” with the skis in a V-shape (similar to reversed pizza move in downhill skiing). It’s just tiny a hill though so there’s no need for a conveyor that would take you up the hill like in downhill skiing.
We’ve had a lot of bitter cold weather recently (-43 degrees Celsius! 😲) and it’s been getting me down… it’s too cold to go for a walk outside and just thinking of winter activities makes me want to hibernate. 😖 The only winter “activity” I’ll be doing for now is sipping a hot cup of milk tea and watching the snowflakes lazily fall outside. ❄️
Hmmm… Reminiscing the winter activities that I’ve experienced is also another option. So far, I’ve experienced snowboarding, skating, and winter hiking. As I was going through old files, I happened to come across my downhill and cross-country skiing photos.
I had the opportunity to try downhill skiing on a company trip to Table Mountain several years ago. I decided to skip the skiing lesson this time since my snowboarding lesson on a previous trip didn’t go that well; I’m a visual learner, their instructions don’t really help me.
I struggled a bit (Jellybean was no help from his snowboard 😝) and Allan — one of the company executives — noticed and gave me a very helpful tip… that is to remember the “pizza” and “fries” moves. The “pizza” move is used to slow down or stop like an amber or red traffic light. It’s mostly called pizza because the ski position looks like a slice of pizza. While the “fries” move represents green light… green means go… go…go! 🤣 The ski are parallel to each other and looks like fries. 😝
On the bunny hill where the beginners flock together, there’s a conveyor that takes you to the top; on the big hill, they use a chairlift to reach the top. Since I’m a complete newbie, I stayed on the bunny hill.
Going down the bunny hill was a bit nerve wracking at first but the thrill kept me going. My confidence slowly built up as I climbed up and glided down the hill a number of times. Though, still not confident enough to try the big hill as I was still mostly using the ever trusty “pizza” move. 😳
To my surprise, I enjoyed skiing more than snowboarding. I find snowboarding stressful while skiing is more relaxing. It’s probably because I was skiing on a little hill with a “safe” slope. The next step is to join the big kids on the big hill and then aim to sail down the scary slopes of Sunshine Village someday… Fat chance! 🤣
Stay tuned for the next post on cross-country skiing… ✌
During the trip to Table Mountain, I enlisted for a snowboarding lesson together with the other VendAsta peepz. There were more or less a dozen of us in the group and from the looks of it, I was the only one who had difficulty in getting things done the right way.
Hmmm… Either I was a slow learner, or not flexible enough, or a scaredy cat… or all of the above! Sigh… It was sooo frustrating! Jellybean blames the boots… they wouldn’t stay tight and I guess that makes it hard to control the board?
Below are some of the snapshots of the trip:
Snowboarding down from the bunny hill
One last pose and… done!
After a long and tiring day… I was experiencing all kinds of aches and pains. Snowboarding is fun if you are “light” I guess… I felt like I was too heavy to even stand up with the snowboard on my feet. Or is it maybe because I was so bundled up with all the layers that I have on? Hmmm…
Nevertheless… I’ll be back! Skiing will be the next goal! Hell yeah! Just like Nike’s famous tag line says, “Just do it!”. 😀
One Friday afternoon in 2013, with zero knowledge and background on skating, I excitedly joined the VendAsta troupe on the public ice skating rink downtown in Toon City.
I grabbed a chair in order for me to get movin’ which also helped me balance and not stumble while skating. The most challenging part for me was climbing a REALLY tiny hill to get up to the rink… I got stuck on that spot.
Nathan P had to help me tighten my skates so I could skate “better” and gave me a push to get me over the hill.
After my first lap, I decided I’d had enough skating for that day and opted to hang out and chat with my colleagues.
In any case. watching Michael Christian Martinez* and Kim Yuna** effortlessly glide, spin, jump and do other complicated techniques on the ice skating rink makes me wonder… how in the world did they do that?
* Michael Christian Martinez is the only figure skating athlete from South East Asia in the Sochi Winter Olympics 2014 and the Philippines first Winter Olympics representative ever. Coming from a country without winter, he’s absolutely amazing! More support from the Philippine government please… Michael deserves it!
** Kim Yuna is the figure skating representative of South Korea. She took home the figure skating gold and silver medal in the Vancouver Winter Olympics 2010 and the Sochi Winter Olympics 2014 respectively. I had goosebumps while watching her perform. Such passion and grace!