Blerg.

Cross Country Skiing: Oddly Up and Down


Pretty tricky action shot, eh?

Pretty tricky action shot, eh?

Since it isn't Spring yet, (Punxsutawney Phil, I will cut your feet off!) and I can't seem to melt the snow by glaring at it, I decided to glide gracefully on top of it with two tongue depressors strapped to my feet. Les bourgeois call this "skiing," I am told, but I think of it as "stick-walking."

A couple weekends ago, Alice and Mark and their Pakistani pal Gibran and I rented some cross-country skis from the Rec Center, and headed up to a beautiful Metro Park. On the way, we discussed everyone's level of experience with snow sports. 

Me: Well, the last time I went skiing was the Christmas my parents split up, so I don't have great associations with it...

Gibran: You know, I was skiing once at a resort near my hometown in Karachi. We were going to go back the next year, but the Taliban burned it down. 

You win, Gibran. 

I find that my body works better when I fill it to the brim with warm fatty liquids. 

I find that my body works better when I fill it to the brim with warm fatty liquids. 

Despite having been away from the snow sticks for 20 years, I sort of got the hang of it. Left, Right, Left, Right.... Alice and Mark are quite good, but they are Canadian, so they have an unfair advantage. And for someone whose winter fun was literally ruined by terrorists, Gibran was doing a valiant job. 

Me: How you feelin, Gibran? 

Gibran: (face-down in a  pile of snowy brambles) Like I grew up in a desert. 

 

This was Saturday. (I'm actually pulled over here to make way for 3 other skiers who were lapping me: An overweight octogenarian and her six-year-old grand-nieces.) 

This was Saturday. (I'm actually pulled over here to make way for 3 other skiers who were lapping me: An overweight octogenarian and her six-year-old grand-nieces.) 

Poor guy can't glide along on tongue depressors with alacrity like I can, I thought. But the universe heard me, and I ate my words, and about 10 pounds of yellow snow the next day when Alice and I ventured out again.

This was Sunday.                                                                                                                          (Thank you, OakleyOriginals)!

This was Sunday.                                                                                                                          (Thank you, OakleyOriginals)!

I'd like to blame the track, which I'm prone to think was packed down and slipperier. I'd like to blame the wood nymphs who pushed me over, even as I stood still in the parking lot talking to Alice. But I can't fairly blame anything other than my big mouth and lazy glutes for the embarrassment that was Sunday. 

At one point, I had tried so hard and for so long to get up off the ground that I gave up on verticality altogether and started to inch along on the snow like a frozen worm. 

Winter's a bear. No--winter's a prevaricating woodchuck from south Philly.

But as cold and sick and miserable as we get, remember: Don't judge a man until you bumble a mile on his skis.