Run2Ski Proof of Concept Trip
28.Jan - 3.Feb.2011
Contrary to popular belief, winters in the Pacific Northwest are kind to runners. Sure, we get our share of rain in Portland. Misty rain and mid-40s are the norm. Occasionally, we'll strike winter gold: weeks of no rain, higher temperatures and pale winter sunshine. The bottom line is that runners who love to trail run in Portland are in luck. Fern-lined trails are open year round.
But I'm a runner who also likes snow and to get snow I have to travel an hour to Mt. Hood to ski or snowshoe. I decided to pay a winter visit to the home office - Craftsbury. My agenda: get in some skiing, snowshoeing and snowy trail rambling under my belt, and maybe I'd be lucky and get some instruction from a certain Bulgarian who rules the Outdoor Center's trails. With my running snow shoes tucked into my bag, I headed to Craftsbury in January for my own Run2Ski long weekend.
Seeing my favorite places covered in fresh powder gave me a new perspective on Craftsbury. Big Hosmer where runners jump off the docks after tough runs? It was a crystalline expanse of white. The Duck Blind where I live each summer? Barely visible beneath mounds of snow. Our beloved veranda where we share so many incredible meals was deserted.
Upon arrival, I scored two pairs of skis. One pair for classical skiing, the other for skate skiing. I headed straight out to Murphy's Field to catch the last few hours of sunshine and was rewarded with exhilarating swooping loops around perfectly groomed fields. I found Pepa on skis up on the soccer field and was immediately humbled by her swift and sure skiing. Trying to emulate her power and precision, I headed off to Big Hosmer for a lake loop before dinner.
Over the next few days, I covered plenty of impeccably groomed kilometers on my skate skis. Pepa gave me a couple of lessons: one on hill technique and one on pure skating technique. Round and round the soccer field I went with her piercing eyes dissecting my technique. She set up some races on the hill leading to the soccer field and skied around shouting coaching instructions. When I wanted a break from skiing, I strapped on my snow shoes and rambled around the forest on the opposite side of Big Hosmer and followed trails over to Little Hosmer. I even did a mini-snow shoe run on Lost Nation Road. Elite Green Racing Project biathlete Susan Dunklee gave me a lesson in biathlon shooting down at the range by Elinor's Farmhouse. The longing for broomball action grew with each pass of the Touring Center's pond - now a nicely maintained outdoor rink.
After 5 days of playing in the snow and enjoying the top notch winter meals in the Dining Hall, it was time to head home. I left for Portland vowing to return in 2012 along with any other runners who would like to do the same things for a few days...so, who's with me? I hope to have more details on a potential weekend during this summer's camps, but am interested to hear your thoughts on the project - drop a line to email@example.com and let's share a great winter cross-training experience!