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How to Make Nordic Skiing Fun Again

Tips & Ideas Wednesday, January 23, 2019

It’s that point in the season—the newness has worn off, the hard slog toward training goals seems unending, the weather is bitter and the excess of holiday cheese has definitely slowed you down. Here’s how to refresh your outlook and keep your fitness on track.

Change it up.

Some skiers find themselves on the same loop, at the same ski area, during the same time of day, week after week. We’re just not wired to stay psyched about that. Vary the scenery, length of ski, time of day. If you always skate, try heading out on backcountry skis. Strap on a headlamp and hit the trails at night. If you always go for long hammer fests (that old “as far as I can, as fast as I can”), plan a HIIT workout or long slow distance day. Check out CCCSA’s punch pass, which lets you ski at 9 different resorts for less than $9 a day.

Remember why you ski.

Nordic skiers have a ton of great excuses to commit to their sport—improved cardiovascular health, weight loss, longevity. Then there’s the soul stuff—the meditative benefits, time alone, communing with nature. According to Emotional Success, a new book by the Northeastern University psychology professor David DeSteno, when it comes to staying motivated, focusing on emotions and how you feel something benefits the future you is far more powerful than relying on willpower.

Move your body in different ways.

Yoga. Weights. A barre class. A long walk. Even a rest day can all be equally important to your pursuit of speed, strength and technique. Each fall, coach Dave Stewart takes his University of Denver Nordic team head to the mountains, but not to ski—instead, to an active retreat filled with trail running, rock climbing, beach volleyball and whatever helps boost morale and lets athletes revel in the joy of activity.

Be playful.

Race a friend. Bring your dog. Chase your kids. One skiing family in Grand County brings a pocket of chocolate coins to drop in the snow for their kids to ski along and find. Nordic racer and endurance coach Joe Howdyshell of Summit Endurance Academy says, “Your skills will improve drastically if you let yourself mess around, hit jumps, skip on skis, try to do standing 180's.”

Find community.

Join a Nordic club, host an apres ski potluck, or sign up for a camp or clinic and you’ll instantly up your level of support, motivation, and accountability. “When we teach, we always schedule time to gather, savor, share information, laugh and have fun,” says Colleen Cannon, international elite athlete and founder of Women’s Quest (check out their women’s all-day ski clinic at Snow Mountain Ranch this January 26th). “There’s so much power in the collective joy people bring to their sport.”

Make fun the object.

If you aren’t fully committed to a race schedule this year, CCCSA’s new fun series is the perfect bucket list of events for fun-seekers this season. “Odds are you aren’t making any money at skiing, it’s not feeding your family, it’s not curing cancer,” says Howdyshell. “So make sure it’s fun.”

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