Sunday, January 31, 2010

7. Go cross country skiing

Here's an embarrassing confession. I have lived in Vermont for over a decade and I have never gone skiing -- Alpine or Nordic -- in all that time. But this weekend I began making amends and started acting like a real Vermonter thanks to my friend and former student, Dan S. After checking out my list, he shot me an email suggesting that a lesson at Bolton Valley where he's working as an instructor, was in order. Having lost out on my moonlight snowshoe by not signing up in time, I took him up on the suggestion and spent my Sunday afternoon learning about gliding and stopping and turning and double-poling and making herringbone tracks up hills. Dan is yet another of the Saint Mike's Wilderness Program's highly-trained former instructors, and it shows. He spent much of his time since graduation in Bolivia leading white water and river kayaking, as well as mountain biking, trips. Now that he's back in Vermont, he's teaching winter sports, and my lesson followed Dan's weekly session with a group of 5 to 7 year olds. It was a great time, and I am looking forward to trying skate skiing when Dan will being teaching that with the SMC Wilderness Program later in February.

Of course I found myself feeling like an idiot for not having done this the last ten winters. Cross country skiing is fun, not very gear-intensive, easy to learn (at least the basics) and, because you're always moving, there's not the bone-chilling element of ice climbing. Plus, you can do it in really lovely places. In other words, it's an ideal winter activity, and I can't wait to do some more. Who's up for doing rounds two and three and four with me?

In the first picture Dan is pulling the skis and poles I'll be using, and Dan took the one of me while we were out skiing on a trail (not sure why my skis are facing in all different directions, but I'm sure there was a fine reason at the time). Dan's boss thoughtfully took the third shot before we went out on a second trail.

52 Ways to Say I Love You

In Korean, with a grateful shout-out to friend and former student Heather, who's spent the last year teaching in South Korea and will soon be embarking on a trip to India and Nepal (which I, of course, think is a phenomenal plan!)

I love you - 사랑해 (Sa rang hey)
Two beers, please - 맥주 두병 주세요 (Mak ju do byeong ju se yo)
Hello - 안녕 (Anyoung)
Goodbye - 잘가 (Chal ga)

Coming Attractions

Penguin Plunge Saturday, February 6. The extended forecast for next Saturday is not reassuring me. But it's not too late for anyone else to contribute to the cause, either by signing up as well (Josh and Emily are on the Saint Mike's team now too!) or making a donation (thanks, Heather, for making a donation all the way from South Korea!) (

STILL need to decide about whether President's Day weekend will be a New York City trip to include ice skating at Rockefeller Center, or a weekend of working on winter sports (Alpine skiing, snowboarding, night-time snow shoeing and/or skiing, and learning to spin and jump in figure skating have all not been grappled with yet -- so much to do!). But if I don't decide soon, I'll probably wind up going with the latter just by default. So, if you're up for either option, let me know SOON, and once I've figured it out, I'll put the plan in a future post.

Try skate skiing on Saturday, February 20. Dan S. will be teaching this alternate form of cross-country skiing, and I am optimistic that I might actually pick this one up fairly expeditiously because it involves some of the same skills of the only winter sport I'm already reasonably good at (ice skating). Either way, it should be fun, and I hope some of my friends among my colleagues and students will want to try it too.


  1. Shouldn't you be posting more now? After the Polar Bear Plunge you won't be able to type!

  2. I am happy to report that I regained feeling in my fingers by the evening, and in my toes by the next day :) And, actually, that was about the same time frame as for ice climbing. Everything on my list for summer is going to be soooo easy.