(mis)Adventures in skiing

This afternoon was the big Packer game, which my boys wanted to watch. I am not a fan of football: my standard statement when someone wonders why I didn’t watch a game is, “Well, it’s probably possible to care less, but I can’t imagine how.” I’m not a fan of sports on TV in general, except maybe the Tour de France.

Anyway. I didn’t want to watch the game, so I went cross-country skiing instead. It was my first time skiing for the new year. The snow was perfect, and it had warmed up to a not-too-chilly 18 degrees. It has been hovering around zero for the last week, so 18 seemed downright balmy!

Donned my gear, and headed out to Riveredge Nature Park, which has trails through the woods. The conditions in the far reaches of the woods were challenging: lots of sticks and brush that I caught my poles on as I passed. I got used to it, and enjoyed the peace and quiet. I’ll post some photos tomorrow.

It was breathtakingly gorgeous in the woods. The sun was low on the horizon, so the shadows were long, and the snow was dry and sparkly. It squeaked under my skis – a sound that I love. It felt wonderful to be out in nature, and it was a bonus to be getting a good workout at the same time.

Until the hill.

I am not a skilled skier. I am fair at best, and sometimes not even that good.

I have never been downhill skiing, and rarely do well on downhill stretches on cross-country skis. Today was no exception. One wipeout from catching my ski on some invisible bump, but it didn’t hurt. I came upon a downhill slope that had been herringboned up, but there was not too much of the downhill track left. It wasn’t a big hill, and the bottom was straight. I knew it would be fine.

Except.

Near the bottom of the hill there was some low brush that I had to ski through, and additional brush on the sides of the trail at the base of the hill. The stuff on the trail was short, so I thought I’d just ski down through it. Everyone else had, how bad could it be?

Yeah. I went down the hill with no problem, except that the brush wasn’t just any brush. It was thorny, and I went a little off the track after I hit it. Straight into a large pricker bush that whipped across my legs and left a little thorn in my pants as a bonus. It didn’t really hurt too badly, so I just kept going. My lower lip felt wet, so I figured I had gotten some snow sprayed onto my face, and wiped it off with my glove.

It was red.

Apparently something had snapped back and caught me on the lower lip, which was bleeding profusely. It didn’t hurt, but it was annoying. The rest of my ski was uneventful, except that I got turned around and had to turn back so I could actually find my way back out of the forest. Should have left a trail of breadcrumbs.

Most people do not find that normal cross-country skiing is bloody. I seem to have an issue with that…

It was still awesome.

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