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Log some winter miles on cross-country skis

By: Kristine Guerra Journal Correspondent
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Families looking for something to do outdoors this winter can enjoy the snow in the Sierra without putting a hole in their pockets. Cross country, also known as Nordic skiing, provides a fun, easy and affordable way for the family to spend the winter season and to stay physically fit without overworking the muscles, said Sally Jones, Auburn Ski Club’s Nordic director. “Families can actually go touring on the trails as a family and maybe have a picnic,” Jones said. “It’s also a really good way for athletes to stay in shape during the winter.” Jones said Nordic skiing is suitable for all age groups and is less expensive than downhill or alpine skiing. One-day trail passes for Nordic skiing are typically from $15 to $25. Low-cost season passes to the club’s trails and lodge near the Boreal Mountain Resort are also available. “It’s more affordable for families to get involved in winter sports,” she said. “Here at the club, we have kids as young as 3 on skis, and then we have members who are 83 years old.” Nordic skiing started as a way for Norwegians to be able to walk on the snow, Jones said. “Today, it’s become a very popular sport, and it’s a great way to get outside in the winter time and enjoy the scenery,” she said. Nordic skiing involves natural movements and doesn’t require special skills. The heel of the boot is not attached to the ski and this enables the skier to walk and glide with every step. “You can cover quite a lot of miles in a short period of time so it’s faster than walking, but not as impactful on the body as running,” Jones said. The Auburn Ski Club, located in Soda Springs, has its own trail system. It also offers youth programs, the Super Sliders for 5- to 11-year-olds and the Sonic Race Team for 9- to 13-year-olds. Youth programs begin in early December. “We’re able to offer really good skiing and really good trails for very affordable prices,” Jones said. “Season passes for adults are $70 and as low as $20 for children ages 18 and younger.” Beginners are encouraged to go to the Royal Gorge Cross Country Ski Resort or to the Tahoe Donner Cross Country to sign up for a beginner package. “(Beginners will have) familiarity with the equipment, they will learn how to move and slide depending on their background. It all depends on whether they’ve skied before,” said David Achey, general manager of the Royal Gorge Cross Country Ski Resort. “They’ll have enough knowledge to go out and begin enjoying beginner trail.” Achey said the beginner package includes lessons, equipment and one and a half hours of training for $57. “It’s a one-day commitment, and they can decide if they want the sport and want to do more,” Jones said. ------------------- Auburn Ski Club on Donner Summit in Soda Springs Call: (530) 426-3313 Online: auburnskiclub.org ------------------- Where to go for beginners: Tahoe Donner Cross Country 15275 Alder Creek Road, Truckee (530) 587-9484 www.tdxc.com Royal Gorge Cross Country 9411 Hillside Drive, Soda Springs (800) 500-3871 www.royalgorge.com