Urban Cross Country Skiing

The weather in Boulder is a steady as a manic cat thrown into a swimming pool in March, and so provides we Boulder dwellers  with a healthy variety of conditions to love and hate. For the first couple of snowstorms that really hit this small city, I was stymied and frustrated about why, WHY, the city didn’t do a better job of plowing the streets.

By the third major storm we had (a solid three-footer) that brought on all sorts of fun car challenges for my little Fit, I started to figure it out. Four days after the storm, the weather cranked up to 60 degrees, and ALL the snow was gone by the end of the day. Hence the lack of plowing on the city’s part.

But the city did a far cry better at the maintenance of the ever-present, extra-precious bike paths. I am not joking when I say that the bike paths were cleared 100 times better than the actual roads around here, no doubt because we’re always encouraging folks to take their bikes to work (which I do, by the way).

The day of the storm was a day off from work for me, and my previous plans to go to the ski mountain were squashed by the rather harrowing lap around the block I did in my Fit as my first attempt to get my body to the bus stop. There is a bike path that goes right by my house, and I was determined to get outside SOMEHOW…and then, the most brilliant plan came to me. I should just take my skis on the BIKE PATHS.

And so, that is just what I did. I chose to classic ski for whatever reason. The conditions were fine. The plows that had cleared the paths had left a thin layer of snow on the surface of the pavement, just enough to be able to glide well and not scrape the skis to death on the rough cement. The underpasses proved an interesting challenge, and every once in a while I hit a dry spot, but overall, the glide was niiiice.

I decided to ski along Boulder creek, across to the hospital and back. I almost convinced myself I was in the woods at one point. Almost. I also discovered that a train goes right though Boulder, a fact that scared the shit out of me as it went roaring by the little path near the hospital. I also managed to totally eat it and hit the cement hard at one point, but I caught a sweet bruise out of it as proof of my excellent urban skiing.

Boulder being Boulder, I was not the first nor the only person to use the bike paths as a ski medium during that day. I passed one woman on my way home chatting on her cell as she went, following another skier’s tracks from earlier in the day. While it was not a peaceful as going out in the woods, it was certainly something, and sometimes you have to make due with what you have.

Huzzah to urban skiing.





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