Friday, 15 January 2010

Ski de fond/nordic skiing

Following Wednesday's aborted foray up to the Etang de Lhers, we finally established that the ski de fond station is open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays during January and every day in the February school holidays. The area enjoyed more quite significant snowfall overnight and with clear blue skies forecast for this afternoon, I was quite excited at the prospect of trying out this new sport. We arrived at the station at 1pm. Imagine our disappointment, therefore, at discovering that only 3 'pistes' were in fact open, one black, one green and a raquettes circuit. I say 'open' but the tracks in which the nordic skis are supposed to run had not been made and would not be made that afternoon as the snow was 'not cold enough'! Oh, we could still hire the kit and have a pootle about but I very quickly discovered that nordic skiing on an untracked piste is, well, pretty much impossible. These skis are long and thin and have no edges, making them virtually impossible to turn and very tricky to even stop. They rely on the prepared track to guide them in much the same way as a tram runs on tracksI felt out of control. It was not a pleasant feeling. I ended up on my backside/face more than once. However, we were not going to throw in the towel that easily. We ended up making our own tracks on a short, gentle downhill section of piste and practised running the skis in those tracks and then practised the sliding technique to go back up again. After a few attempts, as the tracks got deeper and the ski movement became more controlled by those tracks, I could see how this could be fun and a good workout on a properly prepared piste. I have no doubt that the ski de fond circuits at the Plateau de Beille will be rather more professionally prepared. Hopefully we will have an outing up there next week if conditions allow.

1 comment:

Lee said...

Don't be fooled those "tracks" make absolutely no difference whatsoever. Did some nordic skiing in Norway, bloody lethal. We stuck to ice climbing - much safer.