X-C Ski School 2003

Ode on a weekend spent in the snow, at the house in Shawbridge

(with sincere apologies to Thomas Gray and the estimable Thomas
Walpole's cat.)

'Twas on a lovely day of snow
     Some MOCers to the house did go
  To learn the art of ski;
Skiers of the nordic kind,
by the fire they reclined,
  Snowflakes outside did blow.

The food was great, I do declare
The cooks the best, to that I swear
  No complaints, nor need.
The students learned at quite the pace,
(I wonder who's the next to race?)
  Good company indeed.

Balance shifts from side to side
No skis nor poles do ere collide
  And you must bend your knees.
Some hills go up, and some go down
The trail goes on, I see no frown.
  A lovely day on skis.

From the river to Johansen East
From easy trail to quite the beast
  Let's take on the hills!
They glide with speed to reach the prize.
What MOCers heart can snow despise?
  And not laugh at random spills?
And down the slope with looks intent,
Their poles held back, their knees are bent
  To make the ridge between.
(Malignant Fate sat by, and smiled)
The slippery verge their feet beguiled,
  They tumble headlong in.

From hence, new skiers, undeceiv'd,
Know, one false step is ne'er retrievd',
  And be with caution bold.
Not all that tempts your wand'ring eyes
And heedless hearts, is lawful price,
  Nor all, that's snowy, cold.

                                                                                 - Jason Lerch

The 2003 MOC cross-country ski school was run once again by the good-hearted Jason. Kate, Isla, and Sarah were our incredible cooks for the weekend. There were 9 instructors for 22 students, allowing the instructors to take it easy and the students to get lots of advice -  Hold your ploes this way. Hold your poles that way. The poles are used just for balance.  Half of the push should come from the arms. 

We went to the trails by the river and started off with some stretching and warm-ups. We practiced all the fundametnals of balance, weight transfer, kicking, gliding, and poling. The students did amazingly well. The good snow conditions for both grip and glide probably helped, but I do think that this was a really excellent group.










Before heading back to the MOC house for lunch, we split into small groups and let the students practice putting it all together. We literally worked up a head of steam skiing down the trail and turning back.



After lunch we returned to the trails by the river to practice going downhill, turning, and herring-boning uphill. We finished the day splitting again into smaller groups and enjoyed the scenic side-trails which go up and down along the river.









On Sunday, most of the students went to the ungroomed MOC trails. Some of them covered a lot of ground getting out to the 8 and 6X. A few students went back to the trails by the river to work on the basics. The ~10cm of fresh powder that fell during the day on Saturday and overnight provided superb conditions.

Katie came up for a day of skiing. Gigi, Mark, John, Dan, Shawna, Andrew, and myself decided to join her. We drove to the trails at the Chantecler Hotel in Ste Adele. Shawna and Andrew skied off somewhere while the rest of us took the Loup Garou trail up to a refuge. From the open view to the south we could see the ski slopes of Mt Olympia, St Sauveur, and Morin Heights. We enjoyed some wonderful descents on the way back.