“Is this your first time skate skiing?” I asked Andy as we approached the Wirth chalet to pick up trail passes.
“Yes,” Andy replied.
“Oh good. You’re in for a load of soreness tomorrow.” After all, skate skiing soreness is the best type of soreness. We fixed our trail passes to our jackets and hit the trails.
Learning how to skate ski isn’t easy. It has a rhythmic nature once you get it down. The key is finding your balance. When you break skating down to its essence, it is not much more than alternating your weight from one foot to another–just like classic skiing, but side to side. You balance yourself on your right foot, find the inside edge of your ski, push off, shift weight to your left foot and glide. When your forward motion stops, the same process is repeated for your other foot.
Though it sounds simple, skating is an incredible workout. When I started, I compared three miles of hills to completing a marathon. Turns out, it wasn’t supposed to be that hard; I was just doing everything wrong.
Andy is a different story. After he got used to the feeling of being on skinny skis, he got into the rhythm–even on shitty, near-snowless trails. We got in about four miles that day. That was five days ago and I think he has been out three times since. We’ll be skiing a lot more this winter.