• Alex 50km Lahti Champion
    • Olympic-sized cross-country adventures await you at Emerald Lake Lodge

      February 25, 2014

      Original Article


      Do you feel that? Do you feel like something is missing in your life?  Do you find yourself suddenly watching CBC’s Steven and Chris?  Are you the only one wearing red right now?

      Well, I have news for you: You’re going through Olympic withdrawal.

      Olympic withdrawal is definitely a thing I didn’t just make up.  I mean, how can you go from watching 15 hours a day of live coverage to absolutely nothing (Steven and Chris). What do the sports networks even air when the Olympics aren’t on? But it wasn’t just the cheering on of our athletes you and I miss.  The Olympics were also good for breaking the ice, whether you were in an elevator or any other awkward situation where you’re faced to say something to the person standing next to you. For 16 glorious days, you can simply say “Did you catch the Olympics this morning?” and you instantly have something to talk about. But now?  Now, you’re stuck talking about politics or your friend’s baby, which is just so boring.

      According to the internet, the best way to take get over Olympic withdrawal is to start being active yourself. And let’s be honest, after sixteen days of sitting on the couch yelling at countries you’ve never heard of, a little exercise probably wouldn’t kill you, well, at least it shouldn’t.

      I’ve written about it before, but “athletic” has never really been a word that people use to describe me. Not unless it’s preceded by “not.”  That being said, I do like doing athletic activities, I just don’t do them as much as I’d like to. I once tried sports so hard, I actually got two different stress fractures. I still have the doctor’s diagnosis on display in what I now call my Trophy Case.

      The truth is, I think I’m a like a lot of people who, when thinking about trying new sports, chicken out because it might too scary or difficult.  To those people, I’d like to introduce you to the world of cross-country skiing.

      Now, not to diminish the athleticism of cross-country skiing, because judging from what I saw at the Olympics, the sport can be brutal. But in terms of being able to stand up on the skis and move at about the same pace as a snail, well cross-country skiing is actually pretty easy.

      Just before the Olympics, I got the chance to take on the sport, which I hadn’t really done since I was a kid and my dad “tried” to “teach” me. I drove up to Emerald Lake Lodge, a stunning hotel on the edge of the Alberta and British Columbian border, outside of the small town of Field.  Buried deep in the Rocky mountains, Emerald Lake is a cross country skiers dream, especially for we beginners. Around the hotel you won’t find much in terms of amenities, actually you’ll find exactly one thing: Emerald Sports.  It’s a small shop that’s been run by two sisters who’ve been working there for more than twenty years. There you’ll find your ski rentals and some advice on the best trails and their condition.

      For this particular trip, since I really wanted to learn how to cross-country ski, I had some help: Olympian Drew Goldsack (2006 & 2010) and Matt Jeffries from Cross-Country Canada took on the unenviable task of watching me “do sports.”  The fact that two people who essentially cross-country ski for a living would be scary for some, but for me, well for me it was terrifying.  But, even though I was hugely intimidated, I quickly realized that both the sport and the two athletes who were going to teach me how to do it, were neither scary or intimidating.