Sunshine-y nordic skiing in Vermont, in the Mad River Valley

Tuesday, March 9, 2010 at 10:18 PM

A heavenly day for cross-country skiing in Vermont.

Can it get any better than this?

The Skimeister and I hit Ole's cross-country center in Warren, Vermont, this afternoon for a ski tour. It was absolutely gorgeous out. No clouds. Warm temperatures. And the snow was still firm in many places because of our cold evenings and excellent grooming at Ole's.

I was on skating skis while the Skimeister took to the trails in a sit-ski. He rented it recently so he could get out skiing despite a major knee injury that he sustained last month. Yup, he completely blew out his knee while he was snowboarding. (Knees and trees don't mix well.)

Needless to say, the knee injury is a huge disappointment. But, he's making the best of it. You should have seen him double-pole around Ole's — truly impressive. And you better believe that it has fostered admiration and respect for those who must use adaptive ski equipment every season.

We warmed up on the western half of the loop around the wide-open runway (Ole's is a small airport in the summer months). We had received some great beta from the Ole's nordic center staff, so we took a look at Trails 2 and 3. After checking those meadow trails out, the Skimeister said he wanted to tackle a real loop. We headed for a counter-clockwise ski on Trail 5, the Deer Run Trail.

I really like Trail 5. I skied it in the opposite direction last week and it was full of interesting stretches. It meanders through fields, woods and yards, and passes a pond and crosses a couple of small brooks. We knew there would be two tough hills to endure on a sit-ski, and we got through those without breaking any other bodily parts. (Always a plus.)

Instead of doing a last long climb in the shade, we turned right onto Trail 7a. This trail reminded me of being in Colorado. There were tons of birches, which reminded me of aspens, and also tall, deep-green evergreens. It was very pretty. I'd like to explore more of this section of the trail network.

As 7a rejoined Trail 5, we were rewarded with a killer view of Sugarbush ski resort. After exiting that field, we would then twist and turn through the woods to return to the cross-country center.

The Skimeister had very much earned a pint of Switchback and Asian chicken wings at Ake's Den on Main Street in Waitsfield, Vt. The pub was very quiet on this midweek night. Mud season is approaching, the waitress reminded us.

Tomorrow my plan is to do some downhill skiing in the afternoon at Bolton Valley ski resort. I may have to pick up an extra tube of sunscreen.

Interested in adaptive skiing? Visit the Northeast Disabled Athletic Association Web site and check out the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games starting March 12.

Filed in: Cross-country skiing, Food, coffee & après ski, Ole's, Spring skiing

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