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A Perfect Day for Skiing

Zoë describes her experience Nordic skiing for the first time in the Cowling Arboretum.

Zoë describes her experience Nordic skiing for the first time in the Cowling Arboretum.

Nordic skiing is a super popular sport in the winter at Carleton, especially when there’s lots of snow on the ground and the weather is glorious. While Minnesota might be cold and snowy, a feature of the climate that I always marvel at is how bright and sunny days tend to be. At home in Indiana, snowy days are usually accompanied by a dark and gloomy sky. In Northfield, however, it is a common occurrence to wake up to the ground blanketed with snow and the sky a vivid blue. What a lovely sight!

In a previous blog post in which I highlighted the activities I was most looking forward to in the winter, I mentioned my desire to try Nordic skiing for the first time. I’m happy to say that I can now check this activity off my bucket list. I’m so glad I did, and now anxiously await more skiing in the near future.

A glimpse of the trail we traversed in the arb with the moon in sight.

Skiing for the First Time

Believe it or not, before today I had never been cross-country skiing before. I’d only been downhill skiing once in high school, and had never had the opportunity to try out Nordic. This weekend, there was a good amount of snow and glorious weather conditions—the perfect occasion to try my hand at skiing. Luckily the Recreation Center has an abundant supply of skis, boots, and poles for students to use, so I grabbed the gear I needed and enthusiastically headed out onto the snow.

In the midst of learning!

But Where?

The Carleton Cowling Arboretum (better known as “the arb” among students) is an incredible natural resource that students, faculty, and Northfield residents alike take advantage of throughout the seasons. An 880-acre land mass of prairie, forest, creeks, and river, it is used year round for recreation and academic purposes. I’d spent a fair amount of time in the arb going on walks and working on assignments for my Geology and Field Drawing classes, but I had never indulged in one of its most popular uses. Luxuriously, the trails in the arb are consistently groomed for skiers throughout the winter months.

ski trail
The sun descending in the sky above the ski trail.

My Experience

My roommate, Lily, was a fantastic instructor and taught me the basics of how to ski. It took a bit of practice to get the hang of moving atop the snow with the help of my poles, but soon enough it became a much more intuitive motion. I loved going down hills as well, practicing maintaining my balance while swiftly gliding to the bottom.

In the future, I want to learn how to move more quickly and smoothly. Admittedly, as a newbie my technique could use lots of improvement. Seeing other Carls and Northfield community members gracefully ski past me was a pleasure to watch, and definitely inspired me to get some more practice in this term.

zoe and lily
Had to stop for a photo!

I’m so grateful for Lily’s help in my first endeavor to try out Nordic, and I can’t wait to get back into the arb. In all honesty, I wish I had tried it out sooner. One of the best things about the cold and snow in Minnesota is the plentiful winter recreation. Our plan is to make a day of ice skating on the Bald Spot, skiing in the arb, and sledding down Bell Field at some point in the term, a celebration and trifecta of the winter activities that Carleton has to offer. What fun to look forward to!

Nordic Ski Club

A note: although I am not a member of the Carleton ski club, lots of people are. It’s a fantastic way to enjoy the gorgeous weather and arboretum while simultaneously fulfilling a Physical Education graduation requirement. Check out the Nordic Club’s website if you’d like to learn more about skiing at Carleton.

Zoë is a junior Sociology-Anthropology major who loves traveling and studying abroad, taking photos, and luxuriating in long walks in the glorious Arb. At Carleton, some of Zoë’s favorite pastimes include frequenting the various coffee shops in downtown Northfield, playing cello in the orchestra, participating in club soccer, and spending time with friends. Meet the other bloggers!