Cross Country Ski Mammoth

Happy New Year (again)! I am not a New Year’s Resolution kind of girl and instead I have themes for each year. I usually wait for the Lunar New Year (Chinese New Year to some) to decide what my theme is, but this year I think I have figured it out. I think I am going with “try something new each month”. It was more of a try new things kind of year, but giving it the timeframe of at least once a month gives me something to aim for and focus on. You know, that whole a goal without a plan is just a dream thing. So for the month of January I went Cross Country (XC) Skiing!

Now to be honest I did go XC Skiing once before in Tahoe two years ago for Christmas. But I don’t really count that time. It was icy, I was falling all over the place, and I had no clue what I was doing. This time I signed up for a lesson and had a much better experience. So for anyone being technical, this was the first time I had a XC skiing lesson and the first time I went XC skiing in Mammoth Lakes. So that can count as my try something new for January.

I haven't been snowboarding very much in the last two years with the drought in California and a schedule change at work. T has continued to get an annual pass to Mammoth but I have not. When we have gone to Mammoth and he goes skiing I have been finding other things to do. The most recent thing I did was sign up for a XC skiing lesson at Tamarack Lodge.

I feel I should mention a few things about myself at this point. The first is that I am a bit klutzy. I snowboard because there is only one piece of equipment as opposed to four pieces of equipment if I skied. I do not like to “go fast” and like to make sure I know how to stop and how to get up when I fall. Are you getting a sense of me as an athlete now? Bet you want me on your team! I was willing to try XC skiing because I thought most of the terrain would be flat and I love the area in the summer and wanted to see it in the snow.

I purchased a package that included a lesson, rentals, and a pass for the day out of Tamarack Lodge. My lesson was at 10am and I arrived early to get my equipment. There were four people in my lesson and Katie the instructor was great. We started with the basic stance and walking and then added a glide. In the beginning we didn’t use any poles but eventually added them in. We learned how to stop and how to ski down hill in the cross country ski tracks. I was the first person to fall, so then we all learned how to get up when you fall. The lesson was an hour and a half and pretty great. We learned around Twin Lakes in the Mammoth Lakes basin and it was beautiful.

About noon I headed back to Tamarack Lodge to meet up with T. He rented some cross country skis and we decided to try to ski up to and around Lake Mary.

Okay. Confession and a little background information. My confession is that T is a skier and I didn’t think it was going to be worth his rental money to ski around Twin Lakes like I had done that morning. That is why we decided to try to go to Lake Mary. Background information: Lake Mary is up a hill from Tamarack Lodge. In the summer it is a workout on a bike at 8000+ feet and this day was no different.

We started out and the first little bit of switchbacks was a workout! We were maybe a third of the way up the hill and T said, “Call it if you want to turn back”. Like Hell I would! I was the one who had taken a cross country ski lesson. I wasn’t calling anything!

By this time it was early afternoon and the wind had come up. It was getting colder but we were pretty warm. T passed me up and was much better than I was. We finally made it to the relative flat road that circles Lake Mary and it was beautiful. So peaceful and quiet. The snow kissing everything.

By the time we started to make our way down the hill I was pretty tired. I fell five times and was glad I had learned an easy way to get up! We made it back to Tamarack in the now howling wind and returned our gear. We went to have a beer at the Tamarack Lodge but quickly changed our minds when we saw how packed it was. We ended up at the Black Doubt nano-brewery in Mammoth and I think I may have found my favorite ape-ski place! Great beer. When we got home we jumped in the hot tub for 20 minutes with the snow around us. T and I had a great time and I would do it again! I am hoping for some more snow and a chance to go snowshoeing next time I am in the area.

Do you have any winter activities you could suggest for me to try. Remember I am a bit klutzy, so mention any safety gear I might want to add. For example, I snowboard, but I always wear knee and wrist guards….. I fall a lot… But that doesn’t stop me from trying new things.

What do you suggest?


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