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Fitness Served Cold: Can cross-country skiing propel you through the doldrums of winter?

Fitness Served Cold: Cross Country Skiing
WATCH: A cold, Canadian winter can sap your energy and make you want to do nothing but hibernate. But why not make the best of the winter season? Mike Arsenault has more in the second episode of Fitness Served Cold.

After my attempt at fat biking last week, I felt pretty confident strapping on cross-country skis for this week’s episode.

In fact, this was my second time cross-country skiing. My first time was also at Horseshoe Resort five years ago for a TV segment for a different network.

Back then, I tried classic style, which is said to be a little easier than skate style. I wanted to up the degree of difficulty so I opted for skate style.

That was a mistake. I fell within the first three seconds of getting my skis on, with the laughter of my instructor, Andrew, ringing in my ears.

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And no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t get the hang of skate style. While it does allow for more ‘dynamic’ skiing — if you know how to do it — I learned the hard way that for a beginner, classic style cross-country skiing is probably the smart way to go.

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Fitness Served Cold: How to keep active during winter
Fitness Served Cold: How to keep active during winter

Once the group of young kids raced past me, I was going to spend as long as necessary to go from ‘terrible’ to ‘not great’ on cross-country skis. When I started using my arms in concert with my legs, I was able to finally understand what skate style was supposed to feel like.

It was extra frustrating for me since I’ve been a downhill skier my entire life. Proficiency on downhill skis didn’t translate nearly as well I had hoped.

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And I must admit, being forced to provide your own power on skis — instead of just depending on a hill and gravity — was a great feeling. That familiar burn in your lungs from intense cardiovascular activity didn’t feel nearly as bad travelling through the woods, breathing in fresh air, as it might normally on a treadmill in a gym.

Thus far, both episodes of Fitness Served Cold have focused on linear, horizontal motion. Now it’s time to get vertical.

Next week, I try ice climbing.

Fitness Served Cold: Fat Biking
Fitness Served Cold: Fat Biking