Monday, February 8, 2010

Skate skiing

Just when you think you have a handle on the standard pastimes of a country, something entirely bizarre and random gets presented to you at lunch as if it were as common as a cheese sandwich. In the case of the USA, that activity would be disk golf; an unholy union of frisbee, golf and basket ball in which disks are shot into metal trashcans on an 18 trashcan course. In Canada, the equivalent unnatural cross-breed is skate skiing.

Ah ha! (You might think.) I see the idea here; put on skis that look like skates and use the snow as if it were an ice rink. Well yes ... and no. The skis themselves look hardly any different from their cross-country counterparts. They are the same long length with the bindings that clip only to the toe. The difference is that a cross-country ski has some friction on its under-surface, either through a pebbled section in the centre of its length or via wax. A skate-ski, meanwhile, it totally smooth. The actual action is similar to skating, with the skier gliding from one foot to the other with the skis in a "V"-shape, often crossing at the back. The poles also play a larger role, and are longer to allow you to push down harder on them as you move.

Done correctly, skate skiing is considerably faster than cross-country and a much more aerobic exercise. Done incorrectly, and your muscles hurt like a bitch. (What?! I tried disk golf too).

In other news, I broke my weighing scales. They were glass topped and I dropped them on the bathroom floor, shattering glass all over the place. On this subject I would like to declare:

1. My swearing was impressively restrained, despite what any of my neighbours might later testify to.
2. I really did drop them and it was not that the excess of Christmas chocolatey goodness caused them to give way.
3. I am sticking to that story.

That is all.

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