My friend Joy and her family love cross-country skiing. They have an 7 year old daughter who loves cross-country skiing. No kidding.
We have two sons who will tolerate cross-country skiing only once or twice a year. When they were babies, they had no choice and would sleep (or cry) in a backpack, or sleep (or cry) in a sled. We’ve tried cajoling, bribery and threats. None of them has worked. So I figured that I had to talk to Joy to find out how she got her daughter to love cross-country skiing.
According to Joy, they gave their daughter no options. “We love cross-country skiing, “ says Joy. “We told our daughter you are from a biking family, you have to bike. You are from a cross-country skiing family, you have to cross-country ski.” Wow, I thought. This is one tough mom.
Joy and her husband have a sled and began pulling their daughter in it when she was 5 months old. Now that she’s seven, they still pull it, but oftentimes it is empty. However, when their daughter gets tired or cranky, the sled is available and she hops in, gets a snack and takes a rest. From this description alone, I can tell that Joy is not only a tough mom, but a good mom. She plans ahead.
Joy and her husband also tag-team their daughter. One of them will go off fast for a good workout while the other skis with their daughter. Then they switch. “But to tell you the truth,” says Joy, “I don’t have a problem staying with her. When she is tired, she gets in the sled and it is a great workout for me to pull her.” Tough mom. Good mom. Fit mom. You go girl!
Like I said, my kids just tolerate Nordic skiing. They both got tipped out of the backpack carrier when they were babies, they are way too big for a sled and they both would rather downhill. Which is a pity, because we live near the Grand Mesa in Mesa County, Colorado which has to be one of the premiere cross-country ski locations in the West.
The Grand Mesa is a 10,000 feet high plateau in Western Colorado. Rumor has it that the Grand Mesa is the “world’s largest” flat-top mountain, although this rumor has been countered by the rumor of an even larger flat-top mountain in Mongolia. I haven’t been there, so I can’t say. But if you google “world’s largest flat top mountain,” Google will tell you that yes, indeed Grand Mesa holds the title.
In any case, the Grand Mesa is a Nordic skiers paradise. There are no crowds, no hassles, and no passes necessary. There are also few amenities. Bring your own skis, your own snacks and your own lunch.
Also, bring some money for a donation. Fees are not charged at the cross-country areas on the Grand Mesa. Instead, the trails are groomed and maintained by the Grand Mesa Nordic Council. The GMNC is a nonprofit and appreciates all donations. You’ll be so impressed with their trail system that you’ll want to join.
If you are not experienced at skiing in backcountry conditions, stick to the developed trails at Skyway, County Line and Mesa Lakes (where there is a lodge serving hot drinks and lunch and you may be able to stay the night in a rustic cabin). Dogs are allowed on trail at County Line only. For more information see the GMNC website.
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