It meant a lot to me when I received this email today from Randy Miller:

“I just wanted to thank you for the inspiration your blog brings me.

I haven’t x-country skied in half a lifetime and today I graduated from the lesson grid at Canmore and I did the Banff Trail Loop.  I have been watching the photos and write ups of people’s trips with great envy.  Now I get to try the trails you write about and send in photos.  Hooray!

Many thanks


Wow! We’ll be looking forward to your pictures and reports on trail conditions. That reminds me of when I was a beginner skier… 

Bob as a beginner skier in 1998. Nice ski pants.

My first time on skis, I had a great experience. It was on the trails at Kananaskis Village, rented waxless skis, and the snow and trail conditions were perfect. Went up Kovach, Aspen, and returned to the village on Terrace. Talk about fun! Skied a total of 6K that first day.  It prompted me to go out and buy a pair of skis.

Next time out, on my brand new waxable skis, same trails, everything was different. There was a heavy wet snowfall happening. Little did I know the challenges of waxing, especially in wet snow. I had clumps 6 inches thick on the bottom of my skis and I was cursing. My starter kit of waxes(red, blue and green) just weren’t doing the job and I went home feeling very discouraged.

With the memory of that first great experience still in my mind, I persevered and was back out a week later on Ribbon Creek in good conditions and everything was terrific. Lots of trial and error that first winter, but 99% of it was very enjoyable. I couldn’t wait to go skiing again, trying out a new trail with all its surprises, pleasures and challenges to discover.

If you’re a beginner skier, and have a bad day, don’t let it discourage you from trying again. There’s not much in life that can compare to a good day on XC skis, so give yourself some time to learn and allow for a few bad days. Better yet, take some lessons and get some advice on waxing!

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  1. Echoing Randy’s email… I had a wonderful day cross-country skiing today (first time since the mid-80’s!!) along the Great Divide Trail to the Banff-Yoho boundary. I’m out there in the pure winter silence because of your blog!! Thanks!

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