Hi Bob. I’ve scratched this out over coffee this morning for you to guest-post somewhere on your blog; to generate discussion hopefully. Thanks.
I’m going to opine about something here that not everyone may agree with, though I believe this is an appropriate forum and a topic that I hope to generate feedback from.
And that is the fate of cross-country skiing as recreation and past time.
I’m in my 40’s and bear witness in my cohort to throngs of once cross-country skiers, abandon their gear for ‘Costco’ snowshoes (as I’ll put it) and for the more ardent weekend warriors, to mounting on the saddle of the fat-bike craze.
Granted a few low snow winters haven’t helped excite those who relish in fresh tracks (who doesn’t!) but for those of us who grew up skiing with our parents in prairie cities: from Winterpeg, through prickly rose country (and elsewhere on BOTH sides of the 49th), in an era of cold winters from the 70’s through the 90’s, most garages in the neighbourhood had at least 2 pair of 3-pin wooden or new-fan-dangled waxLESS skis. Today, it just ain’t so.
Worse yet, is that the Gen X & Y’ers aren’t taking their Z’eds out and introducing nordic skiing the way depression era or post war boomers did but opting for hyper-organized sporting opportunities (of a variety that changes on a whim-per). I’m sorry to say, but having experienced the Jackrabbit programme as a child of the 80’s AND as a parent now, I feel it has become too focused on speed as per an “Own The Podium” mandate, rather than Nordic Skiing as a way to gracefully cross front OR back country whether a it’s on-track, or breaking trail -notwithstanding the benefit of family time and nature appreciation.
Thus, though local retailers may not have seen the loss of revenue (due to disposable income & our preoccupation with latest tech/fashion gear), bottom line is there seems to be fewer cross-country skiers proportionally in the larger population than in yesteryear.
Not to hasten a readers fate, but when the boomer demographic blip passes, will subsequent generations carry the (waxing) torch?
I fear this could mean the emblem of MY beloved pastime (eventually) becomes a mantle-placed relic of once SNOWY winters, and the ‘sport’ becomes an elite and esoteric game against the clock dependant on snow guns and skintec.