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Winter Wonderland

It took a few years, but I finally convinced my Midwestern mother to join the rest of the family on a ski vacation this winter. The only problem is, she doesn’t ski. I was lamenting this fact over drinks recently, brainstorming how to keep her occupied for a week in the mountains, when a couple of my friends mentioned snow-shoeing. An obvious choice, but one that didn’t instantly impress me: “That’s just walking in the snow, right?”

Then a couple of my friends got these dreamy, far-off looks on their faces, describing the serenity of being out in the woods on a snowy path. They’d both tried snowshoeing in a similar I’m-with-a-relative-who-can’t-ski situation, and loved it. Their voices sounded a lot like Adam Greeson at the Frisco Nordic Center describing the trails of the Frisco Peninsula on a “fresh and quiet” day when a little snow is falling and you can spot wildlife and take in sweeping views of the lake.

“It’s peaceful,” he says.

Like cross-county skiing, it’s a chance to enjoy nature without crowds, and it can be an excellent workout if you want it to be.

Needless to say, I’m curious now — and trying to convince my mom that a hike through mountain snow is far less treacherous than walking to your car in the biting Chicago winter wind.

The Colorado Cross Country Ski Association is likewise trying to spark some Nordic-sport enthusiasm today with Cross Country Ski and Snowshoe Day, an official season kickoff. Nordic centers throughout the mountains — including Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Eldora, Keystone and Vail — will offer special deals, like a free “learn to ski lesson” with the purchase of a full-price trail pass at the Frisco Nordic Center. For participating centers and more information, go to
Sat., Dec. 13, 2008


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