Posted by & filed under Mountains & hills, March 4 2012.

Last weekend I travelled to Huntly for a weekend cross-country skiing course at the Huntly Nordic and Outdoor Centre.

Cross-country skiing is something I have always wanted to try and my interest was rekindled recently after reading Adam Watson’s accounts of cross-country skiing journeys in his recently-published autobiography (see my recent blog post ‘It’s a fine day for the hill‘). It is quite different from regular alpine or downhill skiing, using different techniques, boots, bindings and skis.

The two day course was quite intensive and physically tiring but by the end of it I could use the skis and poles to move forward in the correct way, and move uphill and downhill and make some attempts to slow down and turn on slopes.

Unfortunately, although this was a February course, there was no snow available at the nearby cross-country skiing routes in Clashindarroch Forest to try, but the outdoor centre in Huntly has some good artificial surface areas for practicing on.

The next step for me will be to wait for some fresh snowfall and practice on real cross-country skiing trails with some hired skis, possibly at the Aviemore and Glenmore Snowports School near Aviemore. My ambition is to one day use cross-country skis for covering distance on winter routes in the Cairngorms, maybe even high up on the plateaux.

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