Great Outdoors: Cross country skiing more than a dignified slide

Allison Roe tries out the ski trails at Quarry Hill.

Cross country skiers always look dignified to me, gliding effortlessly across snowy fields. I wanted to look dignified, so I decided to try it.

A friend and I rented skis from Tyrol Ski and Sportson a warm Friday afternoon. Without much instruction, we set off for Eastwood Golf Course. After failing to find the entrance, ski tracks or enough snow to ski on, we ended up in Quarry Hill.

My friend had skied once before but I was a total first-timer. Clipping the toe of my boot into my skis proved quite a challenge, but after a few minutes we set off into the woods. There was more than enough snow cover and the tracks were mostly well defined.

It took about 20 minutes before I got the hang of the skis. At first I tried simply sliding my feet along, but my friend told me to walk normally. The movement is more like sliding on the balls of your feet, since you don't really pick up the front of your foot.

There were a few touch and go momentswhen the ski tracks disappeared going down hills and I almost ended up hugging a large tree, but thankfully all crises were averted despite my moments of pure terror.


We left the woods and headed for the more open, and less hilly, prairie. I was able to pick up some speed and get the hang of skiing. My heart rate was finally up due to exercise, not because of adrenaline as I barreled towards a tree.

We skied for about an hour. The sun started dipping below the trees and was making it harder to see the ski trail.

There was one final adventure: removing the skis. In case you were wondering, there isn't a sufficient Google answer for "how to take off cross country skis." After a few minutes of panic, thinking we'd have to walk back to the car in our wool socks, we figured it out. It's really not hard, but it definitely wasn't what I'd call dignified.


If you go

Tyrol Ski and Sports

1923 Second St. SW, Rochester



Open seven days a week with varying hours

Cross country ski rental: $18 per day, $5 for additional days

What To Read Next
Get Local