Did you happen to read the article about cross-country skiing in the New York Times Magazine? Sam Anderson’s article titled, “What Cross-Country Skiing Reveals About the Human Condition,” paints a picture of people who participate in cross-country skiing.
The picture I created in my mind after reading his article was of a crazy-eyed, helmet wearing, tight encased, stiff body with a frozen expression of boredom on the face of a dead body.
What does a cross-country skiier really look like? It looks like an old bearded man happily enjoying a ski on a frozen lake or a thirty-year-old woman pulling her kids behind her on a snowy path through the woods. It looks like two old women wearing Columbia jackets and ski pants as they shuffle side by side on a groomed trail or a young man skate skiing his way from point A to point B.
Are there heroes wearing helmets, tights and goggles gritting their teeth in a form of self-torture looking for glory of some sort? I suppose there may be but during my twenty plus years of cross-country skiing I have yet to see one. I do see people enjoying the thrill of a steep downhill, smiling with happiness as they spot wildlife in the woods and enjoying being out in the quiet, white wilderness.
Is cross-country skiing a great spectator sport? Not according to Anderson who describes it as “the least glamorous, least pyrotechnic, least watchable of the major Olympic sports.” But then again, life is not a spectator sport and I’d rather be out cross-country skiing than watching any of the competitions of the Olympics. I haven’t watched any of the Olympics yet but if I do it will certainly be cross-country skiing.