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Adventures in Cross Country Skiing

Cross country skiing is somewhat of family tradition. It all started when our neighbors convinced my Grandmother (Ema the Great) that it was a fun way to exercise. We started borrowing skis from them, gliding through the pasture and woods behind their house.

We had been doing this for a few years when Ema the Great went out with us one day and came around a corner. Corners at the bottom of a hill are tough if you don't hit the trails often, and she certainly didn't get out as often as us kids did. She was going down a slight decline and couldn't steer away from a small sapling. Eventually, and I use that word purposefully because she was going so slow, she hugged the tree, thus ending her cross country skiing career.

I, however, had been bitten by the skiing bug. I helped teach my two of my cousins when they were just old enough to put on skis. When I had time, and in the days when metro Detroit used would get a decent amount of snow each winter, I would be on the trails for hours on end.

The past few years, my skis have mostly collected dust. But it's time to teach a new generation, so my ever-so-patient wife and I took The Kid to the Cross Country Ski Headquarters in Roscommon today. (Gladys really is a good sport. I know winter sports in general aren't her thing, especially ones that involve a good amount of time outdoors in 11 degree weather.)

The Kid picked up the basics really quickly. Once she figured out how to keep the tips of her skis parallel to each other, she had no problem gliding a little, even without poles. She was doing so well, I was excited to get out of the little practice area and on to a small trail to test her skills.

We crossed the road and started down a trail when The Kid decided she needed to hold my hand while she was skiing. We did that for a while until she started to meltdown. First we weren't going fast enough and Mama was catching up to us. Then we were going too fast and she couldn't see Mama. Then the tears started flowing. I picked her up to give her a hug, and she fell asleep. We were maybe a quarter mile into a one mile trail.

Luckily, I've managed to retain my sense of balance on my skis and was able to eventually make the rest of the trip back carrying 30 pounds of fitfully sleeping child. She woke up just as we were getting back to the trail head.

On the ride home, we stopped at a Burger King in West Branch to let a few snow squalls pass by. While eating her applesauce and fries, The Kid put her head on my shoulder, looked at Gladys and said, "Isn't he cute."

I think we'll try cross-country skiing again soon. Next time, we'll hit the trails before nap time. 
A photo posted by David Lingholm (@davidlingholm) on

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