.: Ski XCOttawa.ca :: Skiing in Ottawa and Gatineau Park

Stretching the Season
By:  Karl Saidla   (2007/04/10)

I admit that this is a bit of an illogical pursuit in that it does not usually result in any particular training benefit, and some of the “skiing” that I have done in these circumstances would not really be considered as such my many people. I understand people when they say that they just don’t feel like skiing in poor conditions. That being said, I think there are good reasons for stubbornly insisting on skiing when it might seem impossible.

The search begins

The main reason is that skiing is a fleeting sort of pastime. That is part of what makes it great. The fact that you can only count on about 4 months of skiing per year means that you treasure the time on snow more than you ordinarily would. Given that you can reasonably do other activities (riding bikes, trail running, paddling etc) for more like 8 months, why wouldn’t you try to stretch the four month season into five or more? To me, it’s strange how people will spend a lot of time and energy doing things like skiing on glaciers in August, and traveling to Silver Star in November, but at the same time are very willing to give up a good week of skiing in April so that they can take out their bikes or something. What is the hurry? The way I see it, you will have more time for summer activities than you really will know what to do with, so you may as well ski, even if it’s not great. Besides, skiing of any type is vastly preferable to any other sport! ( No argument there, I am sure!)

Footwear exchange at the Gatineau Glacier

Another reason is that the activity of searching for snow, and finding ways to ski on not very much of it, could certainly be considered a legitimate activity in itself. Think about it: You could just go for a run, but would the workout be less fun if you took your skis with you in the hope of discovering snow somewhere? I don’t think so. It is also fun to master such techniques as “threading the needle” ( skiing between bare patches on a strip of snow wide enough for maybe only one ski), and “gap jumping”, which is pretty self explanatory. Another good one is the “transition” (from sliding on snow to running with skis on over pavement, grass, or gravel).

Good skiing for April 7th

The simple satisfaction found in finding snow when everyone else has given up is another draw. This season was fun in that it presented many opportunities for very marginal skiing. It was satisfying to find ways to ski in the Ottawa area when, at first glance, it would have appeared impossible. I recall many days of putting my skis in the car and being surrounded by nothing but green grass, even here in Old Chelsea, and still being able to to find that special white gold. I discovered that the only way you can ever really know if skiing is possible is to head out to try, no matter how unlikely the possibility appears. More often than not, you are pleasantly surprised. I loved it when I heard that people were doing things like rollerskiing in Kanata on the same day that I did a good “on snow workout” in Gatineau Park. I officially put away my rollerskis on November 28th this year, and I am still finding some skiing to do in early April. This means I did about five months of skiing this year, and I would hazard to say that this has been one of the worst years for snow in my life. That is a satisfying fact, at least in my mind.
Interesting Reading. . .
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