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The winter outdoors

The last few weeks have been perfect outdoor recreation weather, and we’re taking full advantage of it, especially on skis. Fiona has discovered XC skiing this year, and she’s quite a natural at it. She and I have been going out at least a couple of times a week together, exploring various trails in the area. There’s a lot of trail-grooming that has begun taking place in recent years, which is nice for me on my whippy narrow track skis. My equipment is 25 years old but holding up fairly well.

It’s been fairly cold for our area for much of the past couple of weeks (minus 10 or 12 Celsius) but the sun has peeked out even on the coldest days. That makes all the difference.
The cross-country trails in Hills afford lovely scenery.
Fiona has joined the Jackrabbits program. Her classmates have been XC skiing for two or three years, but she’s keeping up pretty well for a noob.
The snow is so delicious! Here ground hoar has formed at night on sun-warmed hillocks. In the high country, on steep slopes, this will create a serious avalanche risk, but down on the XC flats it’s just beautiful.
Homeschoolers are able to join the school ski program. This gives them free skiing and free lessons three Wednesdays in January. There’s a nice cluster of homeschooled girls a little younger than Fiona, at a similar skiing level. They get along with the school kids really well too, but have a special chemistry all their own.
Fiona is getting braver and more capable on downhill skis. We don’t ski much each year, but this is her third year, and her skills are building.
I think we’re doing really well for physical activity this winter. I’m hardly running at all, I confess: I’d love to be squeezing in three runs every week and it’s not quite happening, but that’s because I’m doing so much skiing with the kids, Fiona especially. Sophie and Noah are both in the (fairly intense) Fitness program at school, and Sophie has been doing dance and volleyball and PE as well. Noah will be adding Outdoor Education in semester 2, which begins shortly. And Fiona? This week she had gymnastics on Tuesday, downhill skiing all day Wednesday, an hour in the gym on Wednesday evening, PE at school on Thursday, XC skiing for an hour and a half on Friday, plus 90 minutes of swimming at the hot springs the same day, tomorrow she has Jackrabbits, and Sunday she’ll likely ski downhill again. It feels wonderful to be getting outside so much in the depths of winter.
Having the right clothing makes all the difference. Really warm gloves, Smartwool socks, goggles, seam-sealed waterproof breathable insulated jackets and pants, the right footwear, polypro as a base layer of clothing, warm hats and helmets. Our equipment is all borrowed or rented, but the clothing is good stuff we spent money on. Comfortable kids are happy outdoor kids.



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One response to “The winter outdoors”

  1. SnoopGirl a.k.a. Crystal Avatar

    Great pictures! Looks like everyone is having a good time.