Skiing For Life

    I watched the Minnesota state high school cross-country skiing championships on Feb. 15 at Giants Ridge near Biwabik. It was brisk, to say the least. The day’s high temperature may have hit 2 degrees above zero. The skiers had to ski a 5-kilometer freestyle (skate) race in the morning and a 5-kilometer classic race in the afternoon.
    Their skis squeaked on the brittle snow, and every stride came at a cost. It was truly inspiring watching those kids grind past us as we cheered them up the hills. Most of those at the top of the pack had been training since early last summer, cranking out the miles on roller-skis before the snow came at Christmas.
     Last Friday, they were skiing for medals, to see who was the best in the state. But it occurred to me, watching them ski so beautifully, that they will be able to do that for the rest of their lives. Not as fast, maybe. But cross-country skiing is one of a handful of sports that can be done well into advanced years. It’s good for the body, the mind and the spirit. Only a few of those kids would wear medals at the end of the day. But all of them, I suspect, will be skiers for life.