Even Skaters Gotta Stride

Deep Groomed Snow

I’m sure I’m not the only person who spends a good deal of the winter at Tahoe XC that is addicted to skating. It’s my favorite sport, and as much as possible I like to be out there gliding around creating V’s in the snow. But there are times when even us skater fanatics need to stride…and I’ve discovered, we might even learn to like it.

Powder Changes Everything

Such an occasion was February 6th, and again this last week February 27-28 with the storm cycles burying us, and more snow forecasted. There are many winter weeks when skiing conditions are fast for skating, but a foot and a half of new powder changes everything. While the trails were spectacularly beautiful, with thick layers of white icing covering the white firs and Jeffrey pines, after a big storm the skating conditions are always slow and soft. The trails need at least a couple days and a couple grooming cycles to settle down and start to get faster for skating. Striding conditions on these cold mornings with fresh snow, however, can be perfecto mundo, you know really good. It’s time to give your skating skis a break and go stride like the good old days.

Snow Grooming

Deep Snow Grooming

Oh one other quick note. There are lots of Tahoe skate skiers who like to downhill ski in the powder after a big storm. But these days given that the word powder now translates as: “Many hours spent in traffic,” a day of striding at Tahoe XC might be a good Plan B to avoid the kerfuffle.

When you spend most of your time skating, the striding motion can be an adjustment, but soon the rhythm of going back and forth in a forward motion can be quite meditative. Cruising along swiftly in the fresh tracks laid through the cold new snow is a great sensation, and the pace of classic skiing allows you to really enjoy the view as you roll through the woods.

Classic Skiing

Classic skiing can be just as much of a workout as skating, but does focus on slightly different movements so it may affect your body differently. For me, the big surprise every time (not sure why it’s a surprise since it happens every time) is how much of an arm workout you get, especially when climbing hills. Trying to nail down the technique is also a challenge, for me it’s how to keep the back of my skis from smacking the snow once I get the rhythm going.

I find that my hip flexors, or groin muscle or whatever they are called will cry out for mercy for several days after a classic day. Not sure what the cure for that is? Ski more often but shorter distances? Quit whining and go ski?

If you are one of those skate skiers who either doesn’t ski on the powder days or suffers through skating in the soft and slow snow, give classic a chance. It’s great cross-training and quite humbling. Not to mention, classic can take you through fresh pow on your own.

Classic Skier Cutting Trail in Deep Snow
Classic Skier (Boots & Binding only) in Tracks

Whether you’ve never put on classic skis, or simply haven’t put them on in awhile, know that we offer private lessons and clinics for the skiers looking for some instruction. To learn more, visit here.