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Re: Cross Country Skiing

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Cross Country Skiing
October 30, 2007 10:17AM
Speaking of snow (inspired by another thread), what's the story about cross country skiing? It looks like it might be fun.

I enjoy downhill skiing, and hiking, but wonder if a change of pace might be nice in the winter.

Is any gear needed that wouldn't normally be obtained in a rental situation?

Are there unique safety considerations?

How does one select a suitable trail?
Re: Cross Country Skiing
October 30, 2007 10:50AM
>>Speaking of snow (inspired by another thread), what's the story about >>cross country skiing? It looks like it might be fun.

It's very fun!

>>I enjoy downhill skiing, and hiking, but wonder if a change of pace might be nice in the winter.

XC skiing is like hiking, only faster!

>>Is any gear needed that wouldn't normally be obtained in a rental situation?

Rentals generally provide skis, poles, and boots.

You will need clothing, water, food. Clothing is key. You need to be able to add layers on when you stop, or when the weather changes. Select clothing that stays warm when wet. If you are a runner or a hiker, some of your gear will be useful.

>>Are there unique safety considerations?

Be able to stop! Generally not a problem, you can always just fall down. Don't ski off a cliff! That would be bad.

In the backcountry, avalanches are a risk. This is mostly a concern for backcountry campers and advanced skiers. It is not a significant risk at resorts along groomed trail.

>>How does one select a suitable trail?

Glacier Point Road is groomed and tracked in winter. Just remember that it's uphill most of the way back...

The ski to Taft point is also excellent, but not groomed. You are rewarded with a view!

For trail selection, you will want to consider whether you want a groomed track, or if a rough trail is OK. As in hiking, there are trail books.

The style of skiing that you use, and the type of skis you have determine whether you need a groomed trail or not.

The Yosemite mountaineering school used to provide lessons. They probably still do. XC ski resorts can provide rentals and lessons.

Other resorts I like: Royal Gorge (Truckee) and Bear Valley (along route 4).
avatar Re: Cross Country Skiing
October 30, 2007 12:36PM
Several ways to get started:

1. Go to REI and get a book on the matter. After learning a bit from the book go skiing with a friend that has done it before.

2. With wallet in hand go to Royal Gorge, rent gear there, and take a lesson. Royal Gorge has very easy groomed trails up through trails that can kill. (Jack's Jump for example)

3. Go to Badger Pass, rent gear there, and take a lesson. Glacier Point Road is groomed but as stated it has a lot of uphill which can be a bit discouraging for a first time skier.

4. Go to REI and rent gear, head for a groomed trail, put the skis on (curvy end to the fore) and take off.

Carry a larger day pack with food, water, and some dry underclothes. While skiing you will get quite warm but if the temp is low you will get cold in a hurry when you stop to eat or whatever. If you live around Lake Tahoe there are many nice flat groomed areas. Kirkwood has several KM of flatish groomed trails and Spooner Lake has a very nice trail system on the east side of Tahoe that runs up into the hills east of Spooner and Marlet Lakes.

If you want to make cross country skiing seem easy then go snowshoeing for a full day.





Old Dude
Re: Cross Country Skiing
October 30, 2007 01:06PM
Thanks for the responses!

Do you know about the ski trail to Ostrander lake? Is it the same as the hiking trail? Is it suitable for a first time x-country skier?

Ideally, I'd like to see places I've not yet seen, so that's another strike against Glacier Point Rd. I've also seen Taft Pt. but would welcome that view in times of snow, as I've only seen the summer version. I'm sure it would seem like a whole different place.
avatar Re: Cross Country Skiing
October 30, 2007 02:52PM
The trail to Ostrander Lake is not groomed and would be pretty tough for a first ski. The Glacier Point Road trail on skis in the snow is nothing like driving it or even hiking it. It is a great first ski and I would recommend it over any off track trip.





Old Dude
avatar Re: Cross Country Skiing
October 31, 2007 07:09AM
I went to Crane Flat for my first day on skiing. It's a good place to learn to stay veritical. The next day was Glacier Point Road and the third day was learning that I have muscles I don't often use and the complaints they can generate.

avatar Re: Cross Country Skiing
October 30, 2007 03:40PM
I try to snowshoe out to Glacier Point each winter. As mentioned, it is completely different in the the winter. You don't have the crowds. I usually set my tent so I have a Half Dome view...and usually there is just 2 or 3 other people out there.

The bathrooms are accessible, which is a bonus.

It's definitely a good workout.

avatar Re: Cross Country Skiing
October 31, 2007 10:51PM
Maybe there's another option. Ever try snowshoeing? I did the ranger-guided snowshoe walk last Feb at Badger Pass and had a blast. It was only a $5 suggested donation for the rental (supposedly for equipment maintenance) and the ski shop at Badger Pass has daily rates for snowshoe rental (including poles I think). Or you could buy/borrow/bring your own snowshoes. You can ask for recommendations, and learn how to follow the trail markers. They have a full-moon snowshoe walk two or three nights each month, although they have a mandatory charge, which is less if you've got your own snowshoes.

However - I hear the cross-country skiers are a little touchy about snowshoe tracks "ruining" their groomed trails. You're supposed to walk off to the side if you're on those trails. Still - we had fresh powder, and some of the skiers were skiing on our prepacked snowshoe tracks.



When I got back to the Valley, I went on another ranger-guided walk. We even noticed some snowshoe tracks in a meadow.
avatar Re: Cross Country Skiing
October 31, 2007 11:40PM
>y_p_w: I hear the cross-country skiers are a little touchy about snowshoe >tracks "ruining" their groomed trails.

True. I snowshoe; and there are times skiers look at me like I'm a bum entering the Hilton; and they're all in the Fortune 500 (even though I'm careful not to track across their groomed trail).

"Why can't we all just get along?"

avatar Re: Cross Country Skiing
November 01, 2007 08:13AM
I do both and can speak to snowshoers in the groomed track and skiiers in the snowshoe track.

There are snowshoers that will trek in the groomed tracks without any notion of what they are doing. Sort of like feeding the animals. There are often signs at the trailhead advising snowshoers to stay out of the track. I've found this to be a big problem in the first 1/2 mile of a trailhead and not a problem at all further on.
The longer distance snowshoers have more savvy. The problem with snowshoe tracks in the groomed groves is that during the day the grooves are soft and in the late afternoon they harden up. When a skier comes back at the end of the day the grooves that have been stepped on by a snowshoe have frozen hard and can cause a spill. It's even worse when the ski tracks aren't set everyday.

On ungroomed trails like the 120 roadbed, especially after a foot or two of new snow, skiing in a snowshoe track makes for easy going as you don't have to break trail. Skiing in a snowshoe track really doesn't do the snowshoer any disservice but snowshoers following a skiers track can be a problem for the skier returning at the end of the day or another skier following later because again the snow hardens up and the track the skier made in the morning is now bunged up and hardened. Here again on 120 I've found that in the first 1/2 mile or so that the snowshoers will still tromp on ski tracks.

The trails to Dewey Point seem to be nicely shared by skiers and snowshoers without any cross-tromping.

What's even worse than snowshoe tracks on the groomed ski trail is people with no footgear leaving post-holes all over the place. They leave holes a foot or so deep and a pole going into one of those holes can lead to a fall. This is really bad coming out of Badger Pass on the roadbed.





Old Dude
avatar Re: Cross Country Skiing
November 01, 2007 09:23AM
mrcondron wrote:

> I do both and can speak to snowshoers in the groomed track and
> skiiers in the snowshoe track.

I certainly understood why the skiers were doing that, and we weren't going to use those tracks again anyways. The skiers using the tracks seemed to have a tough time tramping through fresh powder. We knew that groomed tracks were specifically for the skiers, although we never saw any with the snow still falling. All the skiers smiled and said hi, so I guess it is possible for us all to get along.

It was fun taking turns at the lead. We'd sink 2 ft in fresh powder, while it might be an inch if it were already packed.

And for Jon - sorry I didn't notice your snowshoe mention before mine, although I probably wouldn't have changed much in my post on snowshoeing (like the photo and descriptions).



Post Edited (11-01-07 11:16)
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