Downhill Racer!

Downhill racer! Like Robert Redford in that movie. Oh, if only. More like an uphill plodder when it comes to cross country skiing.

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Slightly slushy – and well provisioned

We were out in Yoho last week, enjoying all the snow on the BC side of the mountains. Although still unseasonably warm, the greater relative snowfall meant there was plenty to fall over in. Sporadic flurries fell from overcast skies, with lengthy breaks in between to admire big valley views. I spent plenty of time enjoying those views from all kinds of angles down in the soft, soft snow.

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Enjoyable view

We decided to risk a little xc skiing on slightly slushy track set trails in the Yoho Valley (Isn’t that great? Yoho is derived from a Cree word meaning awe and wonder. In the Yoho Valley – I could say that over and over…) There were very few fellow skiers or hikers about – in fact we saw only four other people after setting off. Wonderful really, but given it was a long weekend, shouldn’t more families have been out embracing the park, simply being in the Yoho Valley? Maybe they’d heard about me blowing the cobwebs off my skis.

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Long straight bits – wonderful

Not kidding about the uphill plodder. Being a contrary old so and so, I like to claim great enjoyment of uphill skiing. Taking on gravity, and winning. The gradual climb, and the aerobic workout. Yup, the going up is for me. Huh? Really? Well, no, the truth is I am terrified of going too fast and losing control coming back down. Who isn’t? Not so much on long straight descents, that’s fine. It’s when the long straight bits have a turn at the bottom. I don’t seem to have mastered the art of going around corners – unless I’m traveling really, really slowly. Like when I am going up.

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Oh no! Is that a turn after the bridge?

The trail we took at the weekend was a there and back again we’d not visited before. The initial ascent was long and gentle, and I was congratulating myself on this good fortune, and on how well I was fighting gravity. Foolish boy! Of course, there were then turns and steeper parts as the uphill trail followed the down flow run of the Yoho River. To a seasoned – or ordinarily brave – skier, the track was probably as easy as can be. My inner voice however, was repeating “we’re coming back down this way, looks fast, and how about that right turn? Will you make it or hop out of the tracks and over the edge? Bet that water is cold…”

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Cold waters of the Yoho River

Clearly, we made it back down in one piece, or at least enough working pieces for me to be able to write this. Suffice to say my usual, if not preferred, method of slowing down worked as well as ever. Gravity is my friend. I fell over, or threw myself down. Quite a lot. Far too often. Wonderful really, that so few families were out embracing the park.

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Still a little too warm?

Anyway, bruised dignity aside, it was a fun afternoon of (early spring?) uphill plodding and downhill skiing in a beautiful place. It has us looking forward to having another go, and maybe getting a bit further along next time out. Then, if they ever decide to make a belated sequel to Downhill Racer, one set many years after the original, I’ll be available (I do all my own stunts) – provided the new movie is called Uphill Plodder.

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Potential Uphill Plodder location

For the record, these really were some of the thoughts in my head as I enjoyed the long uphill aerobic workout in the Yoho Valley. Probably some sort of altitude sickness.

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Looking down at the Yoho from flat on face

Thanks for reading! As ever, please feel free to share a story or make a comment, and keep your guy ropes secure.

Published by

plaidcamper

I am a would be outdoorsman - that is if I had more time, skills and knowledge. When I can, I love being outdoors, just camping, hiking, snowboarding, xc skiing, snowshoeing, paddling a canoe or trying something new. What I lack in ability, I make up for in enthusiasm and having a go. I'd never really survive for long out there in the wild, but I enjoy pretending I could if I had to...

21 thoughts on “Downhill Racer!”

  1. As an ex-uphillplodder, myself, I enjoyed your thoughts and views as you managed to mostly stay upright while sparring with gravity. Such beautiful scenery, even from the flat on face perspective! I used to love the x-country skiing here amidst my more modest slopes, but some of those mile-long runs on snowmobile-tracked seasonal roads took their toll. Lucky for me, that meant broken skiis rather than broken bones. Your writing of the ski experience inspires me to maybe take up the skiis again– when I retire and accept the fact that flatter paths are more conducive to a longer life.

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    1. I hope you get out on your skis again, Walt. Take the flatter paths, and enjoy the increased likelihood of going the distance – working gracefully with gravity. Beats falling over.
      Thanks, and have a great weekend!

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  2. I can always see your humor in the posts you write. I was so glad to hear you do your own stunts. lol I have never skied, but if I had, I would have been that fall down, uphill plodder that you seem to be. Ha Loved that photo of the mountain and the bridge in the forground. I can tell you are going to miss winter, because I know how much you love snow. Nice post and as usual I loved your photos.

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  3. As a former X-C skier, I am happy to report that snowshoes are a delightful alternative to falling or picking up too much speed. It’s amazing what you see as you stroll along: which animals have passed this way? What were they up to?

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    1. You are so right about being on snowshoes! Safer all round, for me at least, and you find yourself exploring otherwise unreachable places.
      Thank you for your comment, much appreciated, and have a wonderful weekend!

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  4. I’ve not yet had the privilege of learning how to ski…at least not on actual skis. Walking the zone during the snowy times has proven to be quite an adventure. Most of ends with me by stopping myself by the falling method, which I’m sure won’t differ much when I’m on actual skis so I look forward to it. 🙂

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  5. Wonderful photographs, especially “a turn after the bridge.” It is hard to imagine that someplace so beautiful did not have more people out enjoying that scenery. Really enjoyed your humorous thoughts about your latest adventure.

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