Cross country skiing in Maine, one of the best ways in winter to get exercise and lots of eye candy at the same time.
This Maine blog has highlighted outdoor recreation of all types for any of the four seasons. But right hand raised high, I admit downhill skiing has over shadowed the posts about the cross country strapping on the boards kind.
The elevation of your spirits being chair lifted up and away to the top of a Maine mountain is pretty darn awesome.
It allows your focus on what’s really important in life to come into sharper view. The conversations on the lift, the laughter in the lodge getting rigged up before or back into your street clothes afterwards energizes a person big time. You can do more when you exercise in Maine, a place with so many options that are no cost or low charge readily available. That let you unplug and recharge get revitalized.
But cross country skiing where no high priced lift ticket is involved because none of the machinery an alpine ski facility creates is needed for use of these boards.
It provides the cardiovascular work out and places you smack dab in the middle of wildlife and natural surroundings in Maine. Without the need to slide the plastic with the magnetic strip. With narrower cross country skis waxed to match today’s temperatures, you not limited to the same trails that are limited on a down hill mountain course. Head out over an open farm field, an abandoned pasture, across a frozen lake and up, down, around twisting pathways through wooded sections.
All the senses get a work out. You see the new sparkling snow pulling down the pine or fir tree limbs like they are defeated and shrugging their shoulders. You smell the fresh clean crisp air that your lungs call for the harder you work.
You hear the crunch of your skis on the snow compaction and as you lift one, push off with the other with poles planted to help guide the glide process.
You are getting a work out but don’t even realize it because all the senses are being fed with Maine outdoor beauty. It’s like manual labor working on a farm when you can have a good conversation at the same time. It is humbling and you realize how grateful you are for the chance to hit the trails whenever you can. Not much sharing needed or bumping into people involved.
Like kayaking, the lack of spending money just adds to the take away sensation cross country skiing.
We are so so lucky to live in Maine where outdoors, wide open space, beautify surrounds us year round. So many options to tap into when recreational is needed to shake up the routine and blow away the cobwebs when stuck inside too long. Cabin fever is a real illness if not addressed with doses of outdoor fresh air fun and bright but not as strong sunshine overhead mixed with the cobalt blue skies. Winter intensifies the scenery. You are not cold because you dressed with layers and did it with the right gear.
Cross country skiing with moonlight under the stars so brilliant overhead lighting trail.
Opens up a new World which is one of the best workouts that is take your time not tuck it in and whip down a mountain side like a speeding bullet. If your hands and feet are properly protected you won’t be cold from the vigorous work out cross country skiing. Take your time, set your own pace.
So cross country skiing in Maine. My local Rotary club raised thousands of dollars to purchase an enclosed trailer, to fill it with cross country skis of all sizes for kids to use. To learn the beauty and fun of sliding, gliding on cross country skis beneath your feet. In areas like Stockholm and New Sweden you see lots of local folks preserving the Nordic outdoor traditions. Many even have a sauna, that they race out of to roll in the snow. I was told you pronounce sauna by thinking of a female pig… “SOW and your expression for indifference when you don’t want to do something someone else does and you utter ” …nah”.
This blog post should also include snow shoeing and ice skating that are all designed to get you off the couch and to turn away or lay down your screen time device. But those two pastimes will be hashed out in greater detail in future posts on the winter recreation options in Maine. Pond hockey, ice fishing, who says not much to do outdoors in Maine during winter? Humbug. We’ve covered snow sledding to a higher degree previously.
What you need to know to lease or buy for cross country skiing in Maine?
What will it cost to do either? Renting vs buying cross country skis debated at this link. In Maine, there are lots of outlets to buy cross country skis and let’s tap into the LL Bean channel as one local place to shop if you are bent on buying cross country skis.
Bean also like other recreational sports has clinics and gives helpful advice on the topic. Around the state of Maine there is lots going on when you Google the topic of Maine cross country skiing. Like this from the Outdoor Center news in Fort Kent. Or Maine is one big honking state, let’s check in with available Bethel Maine cross country skiing options.
Check Uncle Henry’s, Craiglist for cross country ski equipment that was purchase, outgrown or never used. Pre-owned appeals to the frugal nature of living in Maine.
You will fall cross country skiing.
But lots of people zinging by you like at a Maine downhill ski course won’t be a concern. Not a lot or any people watching you to feel embarrassed about when you do lose your balance and wipe out. Learning to turtle to get back up. Unlike using the gravity of a hill after a motorized lift to the top of a Maine ski mountain, cross country involves way more effort and higher calorie burn.
Getting up hill and dale with your own power not a low idling diesel doing all the work adds to the work out and the endorphins released in the gray matter. The trail is not often groomed silky smooth and flat. Ridges from past skiers can help or hurt the sliding your feet to keep moving along the trail.
Downhill skiing is like lazy man’s lobster where you are transported up the hill over and over.
Limited by the number of slopes and whether you are double black diamond or blue square or green circle rated. Cross country skiing is like cracking open the Maine lobster you boiler, crack each joint to get to the sweet meat. Does that make sense? It will when you trade in the fat wide skills for downhill powder for the long skinny ones to carve trails across a picturesque pasture setting.
Many cross country ski areas are only groomed if at all occasionally. But you can make your own course if one is not close by or time just does not allow that big a chunk of it to get to and from the trail loop layout you really want to use. Many farms in Maine are converted to cross country ski slopes that are mild not wild and with warming huts adding to the comfort level. Snacks around what’s grown on the farm are part of the fun. Agriculture tourism is just starting to get its sea legs and really helps to prop up the economical health of any area in Maine.
The World Cup Biathlon helped take cross country skiing to a whole new level in Maine and was watched by millions worldwide. Here is the woman’s video snippet we shot and uploaded. Another of the World Cup competition of the mens division. Where you shoot a gun, are timed and go round and round a crowded course off cross country skiers with competitors from around the globe.
Are you up for back country skiing in a remote setting in Maine?
Bring your sleeping bag, a cook stove, a first aid kid and go off grid. Get below radar in a hidden section of Maine you can not get to by car where there is not rumble strip sound or engine jake brakes heard because highways are missing. Listen to winter sounds, the pine and fir needles vibrating and humming in the breeze. See snow releases from trees that make mini white outs like flour explosions.
Studying the tracks of animals that share their habitat with you in the silence of the season called Maine winter. Other cross country skiers have hit the trails before you or maybe you are breaking your own path in the new fallen white soft blanket of Maine snow. Like cutting into a new hot out of the oven Maine pie you can feel a little guilty or very fortunate getting the first slice of whatever is home made delicious.
Moving your arms forward and backward diagonally. Your feet and legs ahead then flowing behind you in back and forth synchronization with those arm glides. There is a rhythm. You’re settled into it.
Except you are not on a Nordic track staring at paneling in a cellar rec room.
No no, you are on an exciting path outdoors that is familiar or brand new exciting. It’s social when you see others cross country skiing as a family. And you stop for a lunch at a diner along the trail or open up the meal you packed. Unscrew the lid on hot tomato soup or whatever is in the thermos to quench the thirst. Sometimes you see no one on the trails except signs of animals that hurry and scurry leaving their foot print in their forage for food. You stop at a brook or lake to listen, to reflect, to rest. Then looking around ask is everyone ready? As you slide the gloves back on, reach for the skis with the straps on your hands to keep from loosing them down an ravine or just sliding down a hill on crust.
No motor, just your own two legs are what you ride on cross country skiing.
Two arms planting the poles too is an important part of the propulsion on the snow trail that is varied to be interesting.
As you go at your own speed and get better at the art of cross country skiing the more you make time to do it. Here is another easy, all established trail system cross country ski option at Pineland Farms that has 5000 acres of outdoor living attached to it. All ages can do the cross country skiing and the pace is set on an individual basis.
The New England Outdoor Center in Millinocket Maine offers lots, not just cross country ski recreation. Anytime Mt Katahdin is in the backdrop of whatever your are doing in Vacationland, her majesty adds to the experience. Her look changes with the season when fall colors explode around her and snow caps her crown in winter. This is just a taste of where you can cross country ski in Maine.
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