I know where Erie runners go in winter: The Wilderness Lodge ski touring lodge in Wattsburg.
I’ve spent the last couple weekends skiing at the lodge while Kelly and Lauren participate in the Wilderness Wildcats kid’s ski program, and I can’t count the number of ERC and Erie Triathlon folks I’ve seen on the trails working up a sweat on skis instead of Saucony’s.
I’ve run into Larry Kisielewski, Mary Kay Pazder, Craig Nivens, Jan Comi, Mike Vieyra, Dan & Nicolina Peirce, Jennifer Martin, Larry Mroz, Chris Borgia, and Rhonda Berlin…and probably another 10 people from various fitness circles that I know by sight, but not name.
Cross-country skiing is a natural transition for runners as traditional cross-country skiing technique closely mimics running. You just kick and glide. It’s simple really. A step up from traditional XC skiing is skate-skiing, which is what many of the folks I saw are now into because it’s faster and more sweat-inducing (i.e., it’s more of a fitness workout).
Runners can see many benefits from cross-country skiing, not the least of which being that it’s a lower-impact activity (giving your body a much-needed winter break from running). I also found that it was a killer upper body workout, too—something you definitely don’t get from running!
You can find all kinds of cross-country videos on YouTube, but I’d highly suggest you just pony up a few bucks and take a personalized lesson at the Wilderness Lodge like Dan & I did last week. (Read all about it in the Feb. 5 issue of Her Times magazine in the Erie Times-News).
I didn’t take long for us to learn the basics—how to kick & glide, how to stop, how to go down a hill and how to turn—and then we were off and skiing. And, it was a lot of fun.
I liked it so much that I went back the next week and skied for a couple hours in the winter wonderland that Mother Nature provided. Here are a few photos:
It just takes your breath away—not because it’s cold (because, trust me, you won’t be cold if you keep moving), but because it’s so absurdly beautiful. These photos don’t even begin to do the landscape justice. It was amazing and silent and peaceful. A few times, I stopped just to watch the snow fall, take in the scenery and thank God for the show. (Yeah, you read that right…I was grateful for SNOW!!!).
So, if you’re struggling to maintain mileage this winter and have sore hip from slogging through slushy, slippery long runs…you might want to give it a rest, strap on a pair and join the rest of the runners at the lodge.
I’ll post a link to my story—with all the info you need to know— when it publishes in Her Times on Feb. 5. In the meantime, check out the lodge’s website, like their page on Facebook, and feel free to shoot me any questions you might have.
* Have you ever tried cross-country skiing? Not thrilling enough for you? Um..consider the ride out there, which is nothing short of an adventure!
* Did I mention the lodge has a full bar, homemade food, and rooms for rent?
* Ever find yourself doing really crazy stuff in winter, like singing and skipping through the grocery store because it’s snowing and you’re actually happy about that?