Day 107: The Skater
While I was in bed yesterday I thought a lot about ski de fond skating technique. In particular the image of “The Skating Minister” (or “The Reverend Robert Walker Skating on Duddingston Loch”) by Sir Henry Raeburn. This is a picture we have had on the wall for years and one which I sometimes think about. I was thinking about it a lot today. It’s a picture of a Minister dreamily pushing his skates around on a frozen pond, and I think of it a s a very tranquil image.
I thought a lot about it in the night, and how I would like to do some more ski de fond the next day (today). I think ski de fond skating technique should be like that – easy, tranquil, pushing your skies into the snow, easily shifting your weight from one foot to the other, dreamily gliding along, with nothing too exaggerated or difficult. By morning I was dying to try it out.
Luckily BF was planning a trip down tot he big flat loop down at Les Alberts. There are three loops there – one between Val Des Pres and Les Albert, a link over to the big field right beside Les Alberts, and another big field on the opposite side of the bois des Alberts.
I had newly waxed my skis in the morning, so for the first 600 yards or so I was really wobbly and slippery, but once I got used to is I got down to this idea of a new technique.
It came to fruition on my way around the big flat field by Les Alberts. This field is often used for teaching and by the locals as a constitutional. It was beautifully pisted and slidy, and the efficiency of my technique started to show vast improvement. By the time I was halfway round I was working on evening out my weight transferral by sking without poles. It was great doing so as it gave me a new appreviation of where the weight was going, how poling affects my balance, and how to skate.
As we got to the end of the loop and head off towards the Bois des Alberts, I felt it was at a point where I could keep up the neat, unfussed and relaxed pattern forever. It felt great and suddenly I was The Skater.
Not that my technique is necessarily perfect by any means, but I was suddenly burning off BF, and finding the whole thing so much easier and more powerful. It was a really great and blissful feeling.
Last time I skied the loop at Bois des Alberts I could only do it 10 skates at a time and then a rest while everyone else powered round. This time I was soaring along the piste. Admittedly stopping a few times the first time round. When we completed the loop BF went off back to the car, leaving me to make another loop.
I managed to get round the whole thing without stopping, although decidedly out of breath by the end.
It was a really lovely ski, and I suddenly feel like I’m really getting into ski de fond now. Great stuff.