A trail runner in the snow.

Dawn patrol. 

Good morning!

Just in case it is not obvious, trail running is my #1. I live in the mountains though, it’s winter, and I want to spend time in the mountains all year. So, I am learning new things.

Cross country skiing has come easy for me. It’s pretty straightforward. Downhill is another story though. Trying to ski in my 30’s for the first time has proven more difficult then I would like it to be. 

I didn’t buy a pass, which would be the ideal way to learn, so I have to skin up to get my turns in. I have chosen this route because in the long run, I am hoping to backcountry ski. Going uphill is great. I love the workout, and again, it’s straighforward. Going downhill is a little different. I am fine at it, I am just scared. Of what? 

Adventures of Frank going up.

For now I am just scared of speed and falling awkwardly while going fast. I’m not into getting potentially very badly injured.

I am still trying to think of it is a fun way to spend time in the mountains and I am fortunate enough to have the ski hills at my doorstep. I have no excuse to not practice and get a workout in at the same time. 

Despite the convenience of the mountains, the hours to skin up the resort are before the mountain opens and closes. I am getting up around 4a or 5a to get it done or waiting until after 5p. I am pretty much useless later in the day, (and sometimes a few beers deep) and although I consider myself a morning person, 4a on a dark and cold winter morning can sometimes be brutal. 

So as I am already setting myself up for excuses as to why I shouldn’t do it – I am going to push past those thoughts as often as I can and get on the mountain. It is the only way I am going to learn and getting out there is always better then staying in. Always.

The views are always worth the work!

Today we managed two laps. At the bottom of the the first one I contemplated not doing a second because my legs were burning from squatting the whole way down. My form was terrible and I still don’t trust the idea of “leaning forward” while going downhill.

I am glad I changed my mind and we went up again because on that second lap I found some confidence and had a less rigid ride down. I did embrace leaning forward and started to communicate with my skis. 

Had I bailed on the second lap only because I didn’t feel like doing another one, I wouldn’t have experienced how much more I learned just in that second lap. One lap shakes off the cobwebs and the second gives me time to play and get the feel of how my body has to move. 

Frank starts the downhill.

This sport is so different from running! The challenge of learning my body in a new way has been the most fun. If I am consistent with it, I am looking forward to see the physical changes and take notes on whether it affects my running and in what way. 

I will post every time I get out on the hill to skin for accountability on my end and inspiration on yours. The posts will not be as long as this one – just a recap of how it went, how I was feeling etc.

Stay tuned and Happy Trails!

Nichole 

P.S. 20-45 min. of yoga post-ski will help you stay loose the rest of the day!

Just a few of my favorite poses:
Classic Sun Salutations to start and open the back of the legs.
Down Dog – every practice should include this. 
Crescent low lunge – open the psoas and hip flexors which get very tight when skinning.
Balasana (Child’s) – open those inner thighs
Pigeon – hips
Toes pose – opens the bottom of the foot, stretches PF.
Eagle Arms – you can do this one just standing in tadasana, in eagle or even in Warrior 2. Great way to open up the upper back which can get very tight when working with poles with skiing. 

This is just scratching the surface of all the healthy poses you can do post workout. I will add a few of my fav’s after every post and eventually start posting short videos for you to practice after one of your workouts. Yoga has been fundamental in my staying healthy and strong enough to do long days in the mountains.

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