Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A New Era of Skiing for Me? Kachemak Women's Nordic Ski Team

As I've skiied the trails around Homer the past couple years I've passed a group of women skiing up and down hills and doing drills. I figured it was ski lessons, but last week when we went to the Kachemak Nordic Ski Club's annual meeting I discovered more about the group.

First of all, the Kachemak Nordic Ski Club's (KNSC) annual meeting was a rowdy affair. Packed into a bar (Only packed because there were so many people. I would say over a 100-ish throughout the evening), there was a full lineup of delicious food, a silent auction, door prizes, kids games and, later on, a live band. Since it wasn't packed when we first got there, the woman in charge of the Women's Nordic Ski Team, Megan Corazza, nabbed me and tried to recruit me. I was intrigued. I've been looking for ways to meet more people, and I enjoy a good workout. When Megan started talking about a 3 hour OD (over distance) run the next day, though, I thought, "No way! This is way out of my league!" On top of that, they practice 2 hours a day, 6 days a week. Geez. Who has that kind of time?? I threw the form on my "black hole" pile of papers in my office when I got home and figured that was that.

A few days later I was walking my daughter into the high school for her rock climbing session when I ran into Megan again (it looks like she and her husband coach the high school team). We got to chatting and I mentioned that with home schooling I would need to bring my kids to practice. Megan said, "No problem." What if I can't make it every day? "No problem." Is it ok if I don't compete? "No problem." In fact, apparently the women on the team who skied competitively in college are the ones who want nothing to do with competition now. They just ski for fun, exercise and camaraderie. Sounds like me to a T. I said, "Get me on the email list."

The next day I got the email list of the workouts for the week that week: this will be a double pole and specific strength workout; run/walk and leg swings; try to swim for a full hour; no particular plan, just crappy skis and see what kind of inventive technique we can use to get around the trail. I wasn't sure just how good of shape I wanted to get into, but hey, it sounds pretty flexible. I'm not into running, though, and I'm a bit touchy about super-focused workouts, even after nearly 20 years away from competition. Obsession about sports turns me off faster than an ice cube down my back.

When a little bit of snow fell and the temperatures fell with it, lake skiing looked like the best skiing possibility. I had no prior commitments today during practice time (11-1), so I loaded up the car with my skis, the kids' skis, the kids' ice skates (just in case), extra gloves, neckwarmers, hats, jackets, snacks, and water (did I miss anything??? Oh, I looked at my camera and opted against it. Sorry--no pictures.) and away we went. A 15 minute drive up to the reservoir above Homer (off West Skyline Drive) got us to a lake covered with, say, maybe 2 inches of snow in the deepest spots.

We skied a warm up loop around the lake, and then Megan introduced the kids and I to the group of 9 women who showed up. The kids went off and did their thing while we demonstrated our technique to Megan. We skied another loop around the lake (without poles this time!) and then began technique work. Do you know the V-2 alternate technique with skate skiing? I'm guessing it was invented after I got out of competitive skiing years ago, because I'd never heard of it, and certainly didn't know how to do it.

Half an hour later, after more coaching than I recall getting in all the years of skiing competitively, I had the technique down and got to celebrate by skiing yet another loop around the lake--using V-2 alternate technique of course!

Now I'm back home, my thighs are throbbing, my shoulders aching, and my spirit is glowing. It felt so good to learn something new, to work hard at it, to be in the company of other women who love to ski, and to get 2 hours of sunshine as part of the package. I don't think I'll be out there 6 days a week, but is exciting to have a group of 20+ women to ski with. It is one more thing about Homer that I love.

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