1.26.2014

Skinny Skiing’s Outspoken Ambassador

Skinny Skiing's Outspoken AmbassadorIt seems to be the trend in outdoor magazines to write articles about how your activity is a lot more hardcore and just plain better than other outdoor activities. Annoying yes, but essentially harmless blather.  Despite the benign nature of this type of writing, every so often an article like this comes along and really pisses people off.  

A friend of mine who is an avid skate skier shared the offending article with me a while back and apparently some members of the local Nordic skiing community are not too pleased. 

The author calls himself the "Nordork" but some say he's a "Nordick." After reading the article I would have to agree that dick is more like it. http://www.elevationoutdoors.com/snowsports/roar-nordorks/

This skinny skiing fanatic has done little to endear the reader to the Nordic skiing community and has taken the “my sport is better that yours” genre of outdoor writing to a new level of obnoxiousness. Yes, we all know Nordic skiing it is a very physically and technically demanding activity. And yes, we all know Nordic skiers are very fit. No one is denying that but must he go on and on about it ad-nauseam? 

To me, one of the biggest problems with the article is that the author claims everything else "feels puny and entirely manageable " compared to Nordic skiing, including “the stress of family, careers and money.” Really? With the myriad of problems people face in today’s fast-paced, technology drive world nothing else is as huge or unmanageable as Nordic skiing? Give me a break.

I enjoy several kinds of skiing including Nordic.  In Bozeman we have a nice series of groomed trails in town and while I use them, for me it’s the convenience and the chance to get a quick ski in after work that makes Nordic skiing appealing. Out of all forms of skiing, backcountry is my favorite.  The self-proclaimed Nordork puts down backcountry skiing but I don’t feel the need to convince him that it is the best type of skiing, as I know there are things about it that don’t resonate with everyone. However, I’d like to point out something to the author.

This spandex clad wonder raves about the “sometimes-harsh, always Spartan” nature of Nordic skiing and then goes on to include backcountry skiing in his list of pursuits that are “puny and entirely manageable.” What a minute, who’s the one skiing on a groomed surface at an established ski area? Not the backcountry skiers but you, Mr. Nordork. May I remind you that Nordic ski centers like Eldora charge fees, prepare the snow surface using machines (Taking powder, something many skiers dream about, and whipping it into submission), have signage, enforce rules, provide warming huts and offer other conveniences. Spartan perhaps but these things are seldom found in the backcountry.

I’ll conclude by saying that the big point the author is missing (As does a lot of the spandex wearing crowd) is that we ski, bike, and partake in outdoor activities (or at least we should) for FUN. Never once does he mention, or even hint at, the idea of having fun. Of course, in his elitist way he probably thinks fussing over wax, making recovery drinks the CORRECT way and having a hard time driving around snowplows because he's bonked are fun. To quote him, “You just wouldn’t understand.”

Yes, Mr. Nordick, I don’t understand. I’ll stick to long approaches in the backcountry, soft powder and having fun.