By Jasmine Hohenstein and Marvin Bloos
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!
The only time most folks around here like to hear those words are the few weeks before the Christmas season. That’s it! After the parties and the celecrating have ended, the tinsel is packed away, and those snowflakes continue to fall, the compalining and the shining about winter and the unwelcome cold and snow never seems to end. “Oh, it’s sooo cold out there!” “I wish winter was over!” “It sucks to be living here in a winter climate!” “I HATE snow!” Complain, complain, complain! Not us!
While the slothful masses winge and howl, giving full flight to their winter misery mode, we of Nordic blood are in our glory! We, born of the north, cry out when the temperatures start to rise, we ceelebrate every flake of snow that falls to the ground, every centimeter that accumulates upon the already accumulated piles of fluffy white stuff growing in our back yards. We EMBRACE WINTER!
To help celecrate and embrace winter, we planned a day outside that would encourage others to join our winter fun. By mixing great people, super snow, warmish weather, a beautiful winter park, professionally set x-country ski trails and a day out in the wilderness followed by a meal on board a train, who could disagree that winter can’t be fun, fun, fun!
Certainly not the 22 eager, winter-loving, cross-country skiers who joined us out at Waskehegan-Blackfoot for our day of outdoor adventure, exercise and pure winterenjoyment. We were delighted and very pleased as our RSVP list continued to grow as the big day neared. It was great to see how many others were interested in joining our enterprise to embrace winter, breathe in the winter air, admire the hoar-frosty scenery, and ski along on the great track-set trails. Or was it all about the railway repast to follow? We all know that EBTC and great grub are a winning mix!
Our 1st Annual C-4(Cross-Country Cardiac Challenge) offered distances and routes for everyone from the new and novice to the seasoned and savvy skiers. Al Carlson offered to guide the shorter distance skiers through the woods and around the many frozen mini lakes and ponds of Lost Lake, Spruce Hollow andother wonderfully named trails. That group enjoyed a leisurely lunch stop at the Meadow Shelter where they could watch the Chickadees and squirrel dine “alfresco” on sunflower seeds and nuts left by generous skiers. It’s not about how fast and afar you ski: it’s all about having fun!
Our other group of skiers, the Group of Seven, whose artistry is of a different sort, had an earl start so they could ski a longer distance. Wad 40km a bit of wishful thinking? knowing that Jodi was training for the soon to be cancelled 55km Birkie, 40km would be a cinch wouldn’t it? Given the 6 hour window, it was an optimistic plan, but doable. Later, on the trail our Group of Seven split into two groups, as some preferred an “alternate” route. Marvin and I decided to stick to the original plan, thinking it would be best if the organizers didn’t get totally lost in the woods! As some of you know, that HAS happened before.
Our route was an optimistic one. We skied fast and hard to make it back to meet the other groups at the parking lot. There were no long stops on our ski or time to “smell the flowers” or dilly-dally this time around. Jasmine felt like arace-hound skiing down Don’s Way, speeding to the finish line. Marv felt like a sled-dog being lashed from behind and thankful to finally be allowed time to use the outhouse! But we made it well before the deadline. Ialmost thout I could do another loop on Neon…
At the parking lot, everyone was busily chatting, feeling refreshed and invigorated after a wonderful afternoon outdoors on the trails. Once gathered together, we packed up our skis and made a convoy heading towards Katie’s Crossing, our final stop to finish off a great day outside. Katie’s Crossing is an adventure in itself. Located out in the country just off Baselone road, Katie’s is a converted railway caboose with several railway dining cars. She takes orders in the caboose and passes them onto her cook while you find yourself a cozy place to sit in the railcar. Your food is delivered to you hot and fresh. Of course, after skiing for hours on end, all you want to do is eat.
Well Katie’s is why we named it the “cardiac-Challenge” And here you thought it was all about the exercise. You HAVE to see the menu! Katie’s specialties are foods to challenge your heart: homemade french-fries, hotdogs, burgers, corn-dogs, fish and chips (deep fried of course), poutine (French fries smothered in thick gravy and topped with cheese). You get the picture! Food fit for northern kings and queens after a good ski. Not a lettuce leaf in sight. Who is going to warry about a few calories after burning off so many in the park? Not us.
The 20 or so of us who stayed for supper at Katie’s enjoyed socializing and relaxing near the corner fireplace in the last dining car. We especially enjoyed the gigantic bison burgers slathered in spicy sauce and served with fresh-cut home-fries. YUM! Just what we needed to end an alreay spectacular day.
So if winter is getting you down and you think you have to move to a warmer place, why not save all that bother and take up an ourdooor activity, EMBRACE WINTER and join in on all the fun you can have at this time of year! You won’t have any regrets! Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!!