Nordic Skiing Anyone?

Have you ever wished you could get out on a mild winter day and do something, but jogging is not your thing? Have you wished you could glide across the snow on that pair of skis sitting in the garage, but didn’t want to break your own trail? Are you envious of the groomed trails provided for snowmobilers? Well, dust off those skis and toss away that envy, because the Nordic Ski trails are now open at the Wakaw Ridge Development and the Crooked Lake Nordic Ski Club is seeking new members as membership helps to keep the new trails groomed and maintained. Members benefit from groomed ski trails, facilitated winter recreation and special events. All ages are welcome to participate. Contact CLNSC and get active this winter.

Nordic Skiing is another name for cross country skiing. Cross-country skiing is an excellent way to work several large-muscle groups at once. Not only are your core and leg muscles exerting effort, but your upper arms, the biceps and triceps, also work hard. It is a strenuous activity that makes your heart work hard. Over time, as your heart gets stronger, it pumps more efficiently, and your heart rate will slow down. As an intense activity, cross-country skiing is an efficient way to burn calories. During an hour of cross-country skiing, a 190-pound person will burn about 700 calories. As an extremely aerobic form of exercise, and the fact that you do it in a cold setting boosts those calorie burning benefits even further.

Nordic skiing is great because of the low-impact nature and the speed that you’re going. People feel like they can be in more control because they’re not going as fast, so the risk doesn’t feel as high-consequence and tumbles from Nordic skiing are usually from losing balance on a gentle downhill grade or while going around a corner, or from catching an edge while stepping into or out of tracks. Lisa Kidane wrote in an article, The Many Benefits of Nordic Skiing, “I’ve loved the steep, powdery pitches of downhill skiing for years. But some time before I turned 50, my body started to rebel against the high-impact jostling of black-diamond runs (sore knees, sore hips, a back that kept going out).” Being out in nature under a clear sky and filling your lungs with fresh air gives us a mental lift during the shortest days of the year, and that’s in addition to the mood boost we get from all that exercise.

“What I like about Nordic versus downhill is it’s not this big investment of time and money. It’s free,” said Calgarian Angela Sayers, who just turned 50. “It’s so accessible, it’s so easy. You can take an hour, go skiing and be home, instead of driving all the way to the mountains.” And if there is one thing we have an abundance of in Saskatchewan, it is spaces without mountains.

Nordic skiing is something that all ages, everyone from four-year-olds to 85-year-olds, can partake in and even those who have had joint surgery can participate, with the approval of the operating surgeon of course. Winter activities like ice skating or hockey, downhill skiing or snowboarding are typically not advised for the average post-surgical hip or knee replacement patient, however, sledding, cross country skiing and snowshoeing are generally low impact enough to engage in safely, just make sure to use common sense and stay within your limits starting out slowly and building your endurance as you build your skill.

The trailhead access for the Crooked Lake Nordic Ski trails is a right turn off the Wakaw Lake Regional Park road, just before the hill down to the Regional Park. The Wakaw Ridge Development sign is positioned right at the access road. The Club asks that any skiers use the cul-de-sac for turning around only, then park on the side of the road. Otherwise, the trailhead to access the roughly two km of trails, is blocked. The R.M. of Hoodoo is now maintaining the Wakaw Ridge road and cul-de-sac with their grader which is stored nearby.

Carol Baldwin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Wakaw Recorder