On the Cross-Country Ski Trails Again

Picture of Jack cross-country skiing in Grand Marais MNIt has been about 32 years

by Jack Stone

As many of my friends and visitors already know, Stone Harbor was not the first outdoor shop I have worked in. Many years ago I worked for The Lob Pine in Roseville, Minnesota. It started in an old school house and the new shop was built behind it. EMS came in and bought out the store and as they came in, I left and went to Eddie Bauer in downtown Minneapolis. I bring this up because that was where I learned about cross country skiing.

At Eddie Bauer I spent a lot of time mounting bindings and putting on waxing clinics. I even did some ski instruction. In about 1976 (geez I’m getting old) I left and started a whole new career. I started skiing less and less and was preoccupied with coaching soccer and raising a family. When my youngest was about seven, I took him out to Afton State Park to ski and that winter day, about 32 years ago, was the last time I cross country skied until this past Monday.

You may wonder why am I telling you this. Well, folks, we get lots of people in the store asking about cross country skiing. They come in all shapes and sizes and ages. I especially notice some who are getting a little older who tell me why they can’t go out and ski. Usually it is because, like me, they have not skied for a long time and they feel intimidated by young people zipping by. They are afraid of being left behind and falling down. Monday was my day for that.

I went out with five younger people aged about 30 to 60. You talk about being intimidated! My balance over the past couple of years has gotten horrible. I blame it on the heart attack I had three and a half years ago. I got out on a beautiful trail on a bluebird day with these enthusiastic people who ski a lot. All I could say was, just leave me behind and let me go at my pace.

Boy am I glad the snow was soft. I swim a lot, so my stamina wasn’t bad but this was an entirely different muscle group. As the day went on, my balance got better and I started to feel more relaxed. And it helped that I was basically by myself. By the time I was finished, I was tired of course, but other than that I was fine and I slept well that night. No sore muscles the next day and I fully recovered.

What I really want to get across to anyone who has made it this far through my story is not to let anyone intimidate you and keep you from spending time with us on the trails. If it has been a while or if you have never skied before, we have instructors. If you are intimidated, stop in and say hello. Heck, maybe I can take you out. I promise you won’t have to carry me. We can fall down together, lie in the snow and laugh. It could be fun.

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