Wednesday 9 January 2013

This past Sunday I joined up with a couple of riders from the Trek Red Tuck Cycling Team and Women's Team manager Ann Yew for some winter cross training on the nordic trails at Callaghan Country.

The ski up to the Journeyman Lodge has become an absolute favourite of mine since I first skied up there as a nordic skate newbie in 2011. Lets just say was a very very long day out to do my first round trip on skis. But on a cold, bluesky day I'd rank it as one of my top 10 best sport days ever for the combination of: the new adventure, the physical effort required and the stunning natural beauty during the entire route up and down.

I've lost count of the times I've skied up to the lodge now, sometimes stopping for a quick warm up, or a coffee in the dining room, or a bit longer for a bowl of always wonderful soup (as my friend Maria was doing Sunday when we met her up at the lodge).

Staying in the lodge for the night (or nights) remains on my 'definite to do' list.

 Photos: Sarah Jenny and I outside the lodge, Sarah and Jenny warming up for the trip down, Sara and Jenny, the 'train' takes in a short up on the ski down with Maria leading Jenny and Sarah

Due to the immense amount of snow they get in that part of the valley (the owner Brad told us on Sunday they get up to 30 ft/ winter at the lodge!!!) the conditions of the trails for my 'racer' skate skis is not always perfect. But I do keep an eye on the weather, and if they've had a few days of clear weather up there then the groomer will likely have caught up with the massive snow dumps and skate conditions will be just fine. Or like last Sunday when the snow was just dumping down all day the snow can be quite light and fluffy and if you just step a bit more carefully its good skiing up the "Mainline" and a total blast on the way down through the powder on the skinny skate skis.

As a workout, the ski to the lodge is amazing. There are a few small respites but basically its all uphill for about 12.5 km whether you ski up the steeps of Wild Spirit or the more gradual grind of Mainline. Flat out (if you are fit enough for that ;-)) its over an hour of hard core aerobic work for the legs, arms and core muscles. Add some balance training for the blast down and i think its as effective a 2-3h total body workout as you can get. Plus... in the most beautiful 'gym' imaginable.

Of course there are many ways to get up to the lodge and I often see snowshoers, classic skiers, and backcountry skiers all enjoying the same trails in their preferred way. But in general as the terrain up there is immense, one can expect for the most part a journey of solitude.

After a couple days rest now i think my arms have forgiven and forgotten and I can't wait 'til my next 'lodge ski'. As much for the great workout, as to keep tabs on the ever growing 'snow mushrooms' and 'shrinking trees' as the snow dumps and dumps in the coming months.

Photos: A few pics from our "lodge skis" last season


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