Cross-country skiers suit up for Locals Day in Park City |

Cross-country skiers suit up for Locals Day in Park City

Last Saturday, White Pine Touring officially began its Nordic skiing season with the organization’s Locals Day, which welcomes locals (and non-locals) to come try their hand at skate or Nordic skiing.

From beginners to advanced, kids to adults, skiers came to Park City Municipal Golf Course, and glided around course.

“The most important thing is getting boots that fit,” said Rob Lang, the White Pine Touring Nordic Center’s director. “Because if you’re feet aren’t happy, you’re not going to enjoy the sport.”

After that, Lang said a lesson would probably help skiers get going in the right direction and give them the basic mechanics they need.

“Classic skiing — we usually start with that because it’s a little more natural,” he said. “It’s like walking on skis, then we add the glide. Once you know how to do that, you can walk on your skis anywhere, as you would with snowshoes. The benefit over snowshoes is you get to glide back, especially if you walked up hill, you get to slide back down.”

Barbara and Kimerblee Keller were doing just that. They had signed up for a class at Locals Day, and were ready to give Nordic skiing a shot. Barbara had short blonde hair and large, stylish sunglasses. Nearby, her daughter Kimberlee kept her long blond hair warm beneath a pink beanie. The Kellers had recently moved from California to a home near the golf course, and were lured over by the chance to embrace something close to their new home.

Waiting for a lesson, the Kellers, who had never cross-country skied before, assessed their situation.

“It feels different,” said Barbara, as she examined her setup. “It just seems the skis are much lighter, naturally, longer and I’m sure it’s going to be a great experience.”

Kimberlee stood nearby.

“(It feels) pretty weird,” She said. “I’m usually a snowboarder, so it’s interesting being in control of (both skis and poles). And they are pretty light too.”

After a few minutes, an instructor arrived to show them and their group the basics, such as clipping in and using the hand-straps on their poles (“The woodchuck comes up out of the hole and bites the first tree he sees,” the instructor said).

Afterward, they set off with their group around the practice area, which is the driving range in the summertime.

“It was a lot of fun,” Barbara said in a later interview. “Definitely learned a lot. It’s not as easy as it looks, but it was really a great day. … It was far more physically challenging than I anticipated. It was a great workout.”

Kimberlee made it out onto the track after the practice area and later tried her hand at the biathlon range. She said it was probably easier than downhill skiing in terms of the initial learning curve.

“It’s harder to gain speed,” she said. “Downhill skiing, it’s a lot harder to progress because of the speed and challenge of the train.”

While Barbara said the challenge of the new sport was daunting, she’d be willing to try it again, and make it a family activity. Both were game to try skate skiing.

“We just wish there is more snow,” Kimberlee said.

Barbara was quick to jump in.

“But it’s coming,” she said.

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