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.

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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.

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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.

niice big field

niice big field

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.

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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.

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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.

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