Cross Country Skiing: A Mirror of Life

The author skiing with her dog, Quan

Cross country skiing along a trail in the woods

We’re just back from a ski trip to The Birches Resort on Moosehead Lake. The best – and maybe the worst – skiing was on our first day there. How can something be “the best” and “the worst” at the same time?


The conditions were tricky. There was plenty of snow but it had been warm and the snow was icy. This contributed to “the worst” part. One of the things I love about cross country skiing is the peace of it all. The skis whisper across the snow. You can hear the sounds of the forest around you – the birds, the occasional whoosh and flump of the snow as it falls from the trees. But when the snow is icy, all you can hear is the crunching of the ice as you move along.


And it’s tough going. You slip down as you attempt to climb a hill. Going down a hill? It’s fast, furious, and quite terrifying.

On the other hand…


There’s still the grace of locomotion on two narrow strips of wood. When you stop, the silence is golden. The bird-song is sweet. When I arrived at the top of a hill, there was just a little bit more of a feeling of accomplishment. Going downhill was, at first quite terrifying due to the speed attained on the icy surface. Gradually I learned to trust in my skill – or maybe my luck!


So it had everything.


Mostly I just tooled along, much the way life goes. You do what you need to do to reach your destination. Every once in a while, you encounter a struggle. Struggle is hard, but if you persevere, you overcome and stand at the top of the hill. And the birds sing, the wind gently soughs through the trees, and there is peace.


And you continue to your destination.


Then I feel my skis dip and enter the unknown world of a descent. There’s fear, yes, but there’s also that feeling of adventure. Faster and faster I go, concentrating on the feel of the tracks in the snow I’m following. The wind whips by and I begin to smile through the fear. There, I finally feel the terrain level out. I’ve made it.



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