Despite the warm weather and rain last week that melted all of the natural snow here in Minneapolis, I was extremely excited to Rollerski! Rollerskiing is the form of training that most Nordic Skiers use during the months when there isn't any snow to ski on (usually spring, summer and early fall, but sometimes February as well!). Rollerskis are made of a wooden or metal shaft and two polyurethane wheels. They are designed to be used on paved roads and paths but I have had to use them on some hard packed dirt roads in Vermont.
So when all of the lakes melted and the trails near my house began to resemble the lakes, I had to migrate Northwest to Elm Creek Park Reserve for some loops on their man made loop. The skiing at Elm Creek is incredible. The man made loop is almost 5 feet deep and the trail is 2.5K of varying terrain.
I sometimes enjoy skiing through the woods or across the lakes and not seeing anyone else but I also love gathering at Elm Creek with all of the other Twin Cities' skiers who are preparing in the final days before the American Birkebeiner!!! Elm Creek provides the opportunity to catch up with over 20 people in one 2 hour workout and get the opportunity to ski with each of them!
After many loops, boredom began to sink in and more importantly my schedule began to fill. I could no longer drive the 30 min each way to ski and I had to make some decisions about what to do for my specific training two weeks from the World Championships. I realized that Minneapolis has one of the largest bike commuting population in the country and this is incredible considering the weather we can have. I checked out the bike paths and sure enough they had all been plowed and were mostly free of ice.
Some people say they wait until June to start rollerskiing but I have to admit that I really like rollerskiing. With so many bike paths and fun neighborhoods to explore I could ski a different route everyday for weeks! I love exploring different areas of the city and I love that I can live two blocks from downtown and rollerski from my door!
The rollerskiing was pretty good a few days ago but I realized that there is still not quite enough daylight, especially when there is still a few slick spots on the trail. I did have the chance to enjoy some of the most beautiful views of the downtown Minneapolis skyline. I'll be heading out to the Czech Republic Monday for World Championships, but I won't be bringing my rollerskis with me. I hope you have enough snow where you are or where you are going to keep the ski season going!