Powder Day at Tahoe XC

Powder Day at Tahoe XC
Tim Hauserman

Friday January 17 dawned beautiful and clear after over a foot of snow at lake level. It was a true powder day that brought every powder hound around town to the downhill slopes. While I’m sure the downhill skiing and snowboarding was extraordinary, I took the right turn to Tahoe Cross Country Ski Area, where the cross country skiing was spectacular, and the crowds were practically non-existent.

Most of my skiing days are on skate skis, as it is my favorite sport. When more than a foot of snow falls, however, classic skiing is a good alternative. All that fresh pow can take a few days to pack down tight and fast, which is best for skating, while the cold, new stuff is a classic skier’s dream. This explains why a lot of Tahoe folks go downhill skiing when the snow is new, and then a few days later, make their way over to the nordic ski areas to skate ski.

This past month the skate skiing has been off the charts good, so my classic skiing muscles were a bit out of shape. But there is something mediative and relaxing about the gentle rhythm of kicking and gliding your way down a perfectly smooth set of tracks. You roll along at just the right speed to fully appreciate the panorama of that smooth blanket of untouched snow, as above you thick clumps of frosting cover the branches of the white fir, jeffrey pine and incense cedar.

I ran into a friend at the trailhead who spends a lot more time classic skiing than I do, so by skiing with her I skied a faster pace and more kilometers than I might have done otherwise. I was pretty proud of myself for pushing my envelope, but on those last few k’s I had this sinking feeling my body might be talking to me the next day.

Yep, here I am writing this on the next day and my hip flexors have their hands on their hips, looking at me with that knowing glare asking why I skied that far, and my shoulders are stepping up with their objections as well. But when the snow is there and the joy is to be had, you get out there. Because really, what is more fun than playing in the snow? So time to get my sore body up, and hit the trail.