Lakeview Cross Country Ski Area is located on the north shore of Lake Tahoe, just off Highway 28. My buddy Madeleine and I decided to try our legs on cross- country skis for the first time this season. We arrived at around 1:30 PM, planning on having some fun, getting some exercise, and staying as warm and dry as possible. These all proved to be easily attainable goals (except for the staying dry part), because we became very warm right away just from climbing the first hill.
Remember that there are no chair-lifts in cross-country, and most of the machinery you'll see around the place relates to either grooming the snow or brewing espresso. We glided along a beautifully groomed track named "Chipmunk", until we spotted a miniature hill off to the side. We were feeling adventurous, so I innocently asked: "Hey Little Buddy, how's about we try to ski down that big powdery hill?" -knowing full-well that nine-year olds and big, powdery hills usually go pretty well together. We waded up through the deep powder, scissor-walking on our skis, and climbed to the top. We figured out later that the "walking-uphill-through-the-snow part" in cross-country has a lot to do with why you never see any overweight cross-country enthusiasts. This is a calorie-burning endeavor!
Just when we thought we'd be getting to the easy part we had to ask ourselves: "Can we get down this thing without falling on our butts?" The question answered itself in the negative after Madeleine saw me take the semi-reclining position despite my full intention to stay upright, so she did the smart thing and just slid down on her rear-end right from the get-go. This hill would provide a great opportunity to practice some telemark turns for skiers with a higher skill-level, and there were lots of other folks out enjoying the many miles of groomed runs and interesting terrain, buffing up their speed and style in anticipation of the many local races.
We started to get tired after less than an hour, even though we were going pretty slow and trying to take it easy. Cross- country skiing is very aerobic, working the back and leg muscles mainly, but also the arms. It's one of the best ways to get a very complete, whole-body workout while enjoying beautiful, quiet scenery and avoiding the gym. On our way back to the lodge we saw two signs, which reminded us a little bit of those famous signs and road-markers in stories like The Wizard of Oz and Alice in Wonderland. One sign said "steep hill ahead" and the other sign said "easy way to the lodge". Since you know we like to brag, I bet you can guess which one we picked! We ended up snowplowing and sliding down the steep way, but imagined ourselves traversing the slope using graceful, free-heel style turns.
We ended up back at the lodge and enjoyed sticky Baklava and a juice in the Great Room. Just as I was beginning to relax, the owner's dog Baby snagged my ski hat. She didn't hang on to it long, though, because as soon as she saw Rose (one of the owners) take off on skis into the waning afternoon sunlight, she dropped my hat and went leaping out the door to follow. The dog sprang like a rubber-band from one small mogul to the next as Rose skated out into the forest with incredible grace and ease. Our dog Lucy, who is a bit heavier and more mature, kept her mind on practical stuff like snagging table-scraps and hand-outs.
We had a great time exploring out at Lakeview Cross Country Ski Area. Cross-country is a really fun and graceful way to get a great workout and see the terrain.