Thank god, it’s not! For a change of pace, five of us Bella’s made it out to Devil’s Thumb Ranch in Tabernash, CO for the annual ski and soak. This is an all-women’s day of skate and classic ski instruction, lunch, lecture and some time to dip in the hot tub and drink wine (learn about wax.)
I have skied since I was 7 and 10 years ago, I took my Alpine skiing to the dark world of telemark skiing. I consider myself a pretty accomplished telemark skier and pride myself on skiing the trees in the back bowls of Vail. I have, on the other hand, never tried to cross country ski, not even once. Why would I want to do that? It looks so boring!
Maybe age or potentially wisdom, or the idea of hanging with my ladies and finishing the day with wine and cheese, but for whatever reason, I signed up for the day on skinny skis. In fact, I think I was the fourth person to sign up. Rachel said, “don’t worry, it’s just like ice skating.” Those comforting words from her were terror for me. The last time I ice skated, I took a huge splat on the rink at Squaw Valley and it left quite the mark and some minor whip lash.
We lucked out. The weather was amazing and our group of Bella’s minus Ingrid (as she’s advanced) all got out there with our awesome instructor for the day, Haley Johnson (former Biathlon Olympian and general bad ass.) She broke things down into the basics and made it work. After the one-legged drills, then the no poles drills, we were ready for poles and skate skiing. And, what in the world? I could do it! I was skating a long, one side, then the other. My glides were not long, but they existed and it felt fabulous.
The feeling of pure exhaustion is intense and comes very easily in skate skiing. Before lunch we made it out, what seemed to be a really long way, and came back for lunch and a discussion about how amazing Haley’s experience at the Vancouver games was and all that goes into the games. She passed around her participant medal and also the medal of her grandmother who had helped with the Lake Placid Olympic Games. It was a great discussion. We took some photos with her, too.
After lunch, many ladies went to the spa but not us; we persevered and went out for more. I went back to the basics and Rachel, Ingrid, Susan and Joan went out for a ski. I rejoined them but told them I was only going to do a very truncated loop. Seeing them continue on, I thought OK, I will just go a few more minutes and then, I ended up going back to where I was that morning and a little further.
They decided to do a bit more and I b-lined for the lodge. I needed my afternoon tea and in a major way! I met up with Susan and we went to the hot tub. Soaking post incredible athletic work was a welcome relief. The Devil’s Thumb Ranch thought of everything for us and the place is incredibly beautiful.
After the soak, we went for the wine and cheese and wax discussion. Ingrid, Rachel, Joan and Susan were interested in the wax discussion. I was interested in hunks of cheese and wine!
After my first experience on skate skis, I am now the proud owner of boots. The skis should arrive in 2-3 weeks. I am hooked.