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By Skip Holmes
Winter has arrived in upstate New York and how are you cyclists and triathletes going to maintain a level of cardiovascular fitness? Sure you can go to some spin classes or swim in a pool or go for a run on those snow covered roads. How about another superb way to not only maintain fitness, but actually increase it! Nordic skiing may be just the activity you have been looking for. Competitive Nordic skiers are known as the fittest people on earth. Arms, legs and core are all essential, and when combined with proper technique, Nordic skiing can generate some incredible speed and performance gains.
It can also be a great break from the monotony of indoor training and it also offers enormous cardiovascular and muscular benefits, as well as increased coordination, and the chance to fire up some different muscle fibers. Getting ready for a winter of Nordic skiing does require some sport-specific conditioning. You can find some useful conditioning examples at xcskiacademy.com/training.
This region offers many locations for Nordic skiing with terrain that ranges from flat to rolling, as well as some challenging climbs and fast descents. There are ski centers that provide expertly groomed trails, a base lodge to get warm food and beverages, while spending quality post-ski time with friends and family. Many of these ski centers also have a set of snowshoe trails to explore. They all have a ski shop for sales and rentals, and many offer lessons for those who are new to these winter activities.
Garnet Hill Lodge and Cross Country Ski Center in North River is located up on a mountain above 13th Lake. An Adirondack gem since 1936, the new owners, Jim Rucker and his wife, who purchased the resort two years ago, have been long time visitors to the lodge. Garnet Hill is a premier year-round destination. It has a lodge with overnight accommodations, a great restaurant, and 55K of groomed trails that traverse the entire area. Wilderness skiing and snowshoeing are available, along with ski sales, rentals and lessons. They have a ‘ski down, ride back’ shuttle service that will return you to the lodge in case you want to enjoy the downhill terrain without the uphill climb on the way back. When 13th Lake freezes solid you can ski this 2.5-mile lake and enjoy the flats. See garnet-hill.com.
There will be a Nordic event at Garnet Hill Lodge on January 20. It is the HURT Mega Relay XC Ski Race with three to eight racers for a six-hour race on a 5K loop. Want to be on my team? It sounds like a fun challenge! For more info, visit skireg.com.
Skip Holmes (firstname.lastname@example.org) of Delmar teaches sustainable design at RPI. He is a member of Mohawk-Hudson Cycling Club and Capital Bicycle Racing Club. He can be found road and mountain biking, kayaking, hiking or Nordic skiing.