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Cross Country Skiing: The Return of Skinny Skis
It is not often you see a pair of skinny skis on the hill anymore. Everyone is ripping around on fat, reverse camber skis and the long thin boards are a thing of the past. But if you take a look just off the hill you may see an influx of longer, skinny skis. Cross country skiing appears to be gaining in popularity in our town, perhaps thanks to an influx of new born babies (alpine skiing with a baby back-pack is apparently a no-no these days) and also to the excellent grooming and maintenance of our cross country ski trails.
This oldest type of skiing was developed as a way of travel and the first competition was organized by the Norwegian Army. It is a popular Scandinavian sport but one that has become more popular in North America and Canada in particular. Cross country skiing has been a part of the Winter Olympics since its inception and heavily dominated by the Norwegians, Finns, Swedes and Russians, so when Canadian Beckie Scott won a gold medal in 2002 in Salt Lake the world took notice. It was the first cross country ski medal by any North American woman and it took her almost two and a half years after the race to receive it. Scott originally crossed the line in third place but the two skiers ahead of her were stripped of their medals for banned substance use. Canada continued its Olympic success four years later in Turin where Chandra Crawford won gold and Scott and partner Sara Renner took home a silver medal. Four top ten results by Canadian men in 2010 shows we are definitely moving in the right direction in this sport.
Part of the success of these high performance athletes is due to the excellent programs and facilities popping up all over our country. Fernie started its own Nordic Society in 2006 and now has over 225 members. Not only do they work with local landowners to make sure our trails are well maintained, they also offer social events, workshops and even some healthy competition. For more information check out their website at www.fernienordic.com which includes complete details. If you plan on using some of the excellent trails off the ski hill, on the golf course or at Island Lake please support the society and purchase a membership. Also respect all closures which are updated on the site.
For all those new moms out there who have been pulling your wee ones behind in the chariot you will be happy to know this is actually providing crucial training for an upcoming new Fernie event. The girls that have brought you the hugely popular (although painful) Tears and Gears have developed a winter version, the Winter Wheezer coming early this February. A combination cross country skiing and snowshoe/run will have you hardcore Fernieites drooling. Check out their website www.fernietearsandgears.com or their facebook page for updates. In the meantime get a Fernie Nordic Society membership and get out there and train!