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Cross Country skiing with children

By Russell Gienapp
While my daughter and I were out on her longest ski (5 km), I kept reminding myself to keep it fun.It started when the snow came down and we could hit the trails in Norway. I wanted my kid to go on longer trips, but knew that the hills would be a problem; both the ups and the downs. I came up with a simple harness that I am sure many would find humorous. A few inner tubes from some bicycle tires and I had a stretchy towrope that could help us put some miles on together. I had no idea on how successful it would be.

I am still wondering what the Norwegians on the trail are thinking when they see me with my daughter. There are a lot of them too; young, old, of all abilities and fitness. The shear amount of average people out for an easy ski has been astounding. This IS the land where x-country skiing started and can you try naming another country that has 4.5 million people and win so many medals in the Winter Olympics. I am kind of intimidated when it comes to the question, “am I teaching my child how to ski the right way”?

But I haven’t had much time to wonder because she is having so much fun. She is the one who keeps asking to go skiing. She finds pride in the distance she travels. As she skis behind me she is starting to copy what I am doing and I am starting to see some budding technique and dare I say glide. But all that put aside, the biggest moment for me is when she fell on a downhill part of the trail today. Well, to be honest, we both fell.. It wasn’t dramatic she just went down and I couldn’t put the brakes on fast enough to keep from being pulled off my feet.

The three things you need for success in my book on how to ski with your young children are:

The right clothes

Quality equipment (boots that fit and are comfy, and skis that fit and support their abilities)

A bucket full of low expectations and a willingness to call it a day before it turns into a meltdown. And joy in what you are doing. The joy really started the day I stopped thinking I was giving my child lessons. We are outside together and that is all that matters.

Oh, and the last thing is a backpack with a thermos filled with the winter elixir, hot chocolate. (And some sandwiches, fruit, treats, dry gloves, dry socks and an extra hat) If they get hungry or cold it will quickly be game over and what fun would be in that.

Russell is an international freelance cinematographer and feels lucky to make his living doing what he loves in life. Being a cinematographer in the film and television industry, demands skills both creative and physical. His office ranges from the steamy tropics to cold artic conditions. Russell is also the other part of and he lives our motto, “No bad weather, just bad clothing”, everyday when he is on the job or outside teaching his daughter Nature's little secrets.

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