Discover the Valley on Skis!

Now that we have learned about snowshoeing and snowmobiling we can properly gauge which we would prefer to do. But first…let’s inform you of another incredible sport that is almost a mixture of both. With snowshoeing you can walk almost anywhere in the snow. Snowmobiling gives you this luxury as well but you can go way faster and cover more area in a shorter time.

Cross country skiing allows you to explore anywhere in the snow, without an engine, and reach high speeds when going downhill. This is the perfect balance of human and tool that allows us to climb to great heights as well as weave through the trees.

This is a bit more complex than regular downhill skiing, but you don’t need to worry about the lines at the lifts.

The beauty of cross country skiing is the freedom it allows you. There is no motor so gas will not limit your distance, except of course how much figurative gas you have in your tank. Bring some snacks and plenty of water because this is a sport where you commit for the long haul.

Some people say that if you can walk you can cross country ski, but the correct technique is certainly more complicated than simply walking. To move forward on flat land, you simply push and slide. The rhythm is like jogging but you pause to glide a little bit between each step. Your poles may very well be your best friend in this sport and the most useful tool you have. Try coordinating each step with the opposite pole push. But wait what about when you reach a hill?

Skiing downhill sounds like the easiest part right? Not quite, this is the time where you are most likely to fall. Many people find themselves wanting to chase the thrill of fast speeds going downhill. But forget the cardinal rule of “What goes up must come down,” and if you don’t control your speed you will go down indeed, right on your behind. If you have ever done regal downhill skiing then this technique will be very familiar to you. The “snowplow” is the best way to slow yourself down before you potentially eat snow. You take your skis and put them together in a “pizza slice” shape and the resistance of the snow and the skis will slow you down or eventually stop you. If you just want to control yourself around corners or want to go a little slower, use the “half plow” method. This is when you have one of your skis guided by a parallel track that had previously been left in the snow and you use your other ski to slow down with the tip facing inward again.

Never use your poles to stop. This is recipe for disaster. Your pole could break or you could end up eating the snow. Always keep your chest forward as if you were running because it will help you keep your balance otherwise… you guessed it…you’ll eat snow.

The great thing about cross country is you can just go out with a friend whenever the snow draws you in. There are many places to go cross country skiing in the Columbia Valley including the Lake Windermere Whiteway – a 30+km groomed trail around the lake, Lake Lillian Whiteway – a 2.9km groomed trail, Panorama Mountain Village, and many golf courses.

Come try cross country skiing in and around Radium Hot Springs and see whether you will make the switch from downhill skiing or if you are better suited for snowmobiling and letting the machinery do all of the work. It your choice to make and the Columbia Valley is yours to explore. Book your stay at Bighorn Meadows Resort today.