The Joy of Cross-Country Skiing With Your Partner



This might take no time in any respect on downhill skis. I might barely hear my ideas above the loud grind of my cross-country skis that I held stiffly in pizza mode (which means, I used to be pointing my skis collectively right into a wedge form moderately than having them protrude straight out into vertical traces). I did this to regulate my velocity—which, to be clear, was that of a snail—as I scraped down the light, groomed hill. However, sluggish and regular, I had a smile plastered throughout my face. Cross-country snowboarding was new and completely different to me, however studying to do it with my accomplice has been an sudden pleasure. And that is a sentence I would by no means thought I would write.

It was a bluebird day, with the snow-heavy pines creating lengthy shadows on the paths and mountains framing the background. My accomplice waited patiently ready on the backside of the hill. I wasn’t excellent at this new winter sport, and my accomplice was not a lot better, however we had been doing one thing collectively. And the far-reaching results of doing so have introduced me gratitude for our life, love, and nature. That is the meet-cute of how he, me, and cross-country snowboarding turned a sizzling new triad that I didn’t see coming, but feels so proper.

We’re what I’d discuss with as an lively couple—however we’ve got traditionally ended up doing completely different outdoor activities throughout every season. He mountain bikes once I hike. He snowboards by way of the timber as I ski scenic intermediate routes within the open. He runs whereas I…don’t.

Cross-country snowboarding was one thing new to us each, however due to his athleticism and my background in downhill snowboarding, we had been studying at the same price.

Whereas we individually fell in love with the game, it finally introduced us nearer collectively. Cross-country snowboarding was one thing new to us each, however due to his athleticism and my background in downhill snowboarding, we had been studying at the same price, wiping out at the same price, and laughing at the same price. Positive, we had been novices on the sport, however we had been novices collectively. And we had been hooked.

What led us to attempt cross-country snowboarding

Rising up in a household of downhill skiers, I used to imagine everybody fortunate sufficient to study would absolutely decide skiing or snowboarding as a go-to winter sport. Even after faculty, once I discovered in regards to the inherent privilege baked into these sports activities (i.e., expensive gear, carry tickets, and transportation), I felt dedicated to doing what I might to proceed downhill snowboarding every winter. I beloved having a motive to go to the mountains in winter to scent the crisp pine air and see the magical snow-covered vistas.

However, throughout a brief journey to Breckenridge, Colorado, a mountain city identified for its downhill ski runs a couple of years in the past, my accomplice and I took to the slopes—he was snowboarding whereas I used to be snowboarding—on a cloudy, snowy day. My fingers had been numb once we reached the highest of the chairlift. It was difficult to speak over the howl of the wind, and tough to see the runs with falling snow and dim lighting.

Uncomfortable and nervous, I took a break in a mid-mountain hut whereas my accomplice made a couple of runs. However I could not really calm down and benefit from the surroundings with the $150 greenback carry ticket expense taking on all actual property in my thoughts. I attempted to clean away the financial concern with a $15 comically robust (and scrumptious) cider beverage. However all I felt was pressure to enjoy something—and guilt that I simply… wasn’t. This wasn’t the primary time I felt this fashion on account of downhill snowboarding.

So, at this level, a good friend’s invitation for me and my accomplice to go cross-country snowboarding out of the blue felt interesting.

Cross-country snowboarding: A love story

My accomplice and I bailed on the worsening downhill climate situations (and the guilt) in favor of a extra tranquil cross-country snowboarding expertise. As we pulled as much as the Breckenridge Nordic Center, the vibe shift was unmistakable: There have been no chairlift traces or freneticism, and cross-country ski boots felt extra snug than stiff downhill ones. (“Generally we put on all of them day,” our good friend casually informed us.)

My first impressions had been optimistic, however I used to be a barely sweating bundle of nerves. Fortunately, my accomplice was completely relaxed, slinging jokes in a teal ski go well with that managed to make his jokes even funnier.

We had been suited up and able to get going with our first cross-country snowboarding expertise. Our good friend confirmed us the fundamentals, and we took our first awkward steps within the groomed tracks close to the comfortable lodge. The ultra-lightweight, slim, and slippery cross-country skis had been completely different from what I used to be used to from downhill skis, however not wholly unfamiliar. The tracks stored every little thing aligned and extra secure as I labored to discover a rhythm with the poles.

With some effort, I discovered my first glide. Is that it? With extra changes, I might really feel myself propelling ahead with each step. Yeah, that’s it. There have been barely another skiers round as we whooped and hollered as we caught on.

We caught collectively at our sluggish tempo, taking over light trails with names like Child Doe and Troll Forest. Though it was the identical day, with the identical individual, in the identical city, you could possibly have fooled me. The identical snow that bit at me on the mountain added a background sparkle and softness. The identical chilly that made my fingers numb on the chair carry stored me from overheating whereas working my underutilized arm muscle tissues. The identical accomplice who felt compelled to maintain snowboarding helped me out and in of my cross-country ski bindings and eased my nerves.

Why we’ll proceed cross-country snowboarding 

My accomplice and I attempted cross-country snowboarding once more in Breckenridge after which sought it out at different places. The ultra-lightweight, slim, and slippery skis had been completely different to however not wholly unfamiliar. The most important distinction in gear was the dearth of any “edge,” the stable, sharp aspect of a ski that permits you to dig into the snow to make turns or cease your self.

With out the sting, each rolling hill turned daunting. A flip on the backside of a hill? It was as if two clumsy penguins had been choosing one another up after consecutive wipeouts. With this gear shift (from quick to sluggish, from execs to newbies) got here a shift in perspective. As a substitute of specializing in controlling or sustaining velocity your complete day, it was about propelling ourselves ahead at our desired tempo—and staying present.

I additionally discovered myself having fun with the full-body exercise. Utilizing my arms and engaging my core felt good and balanced in comparison with how a lot legwork I used to be doing. Positive, my calves had been burning on each uphill and my biceps had been sore after each session, however I additionally felt satisfaction with every accomplished loop by way of the timber. (Endorphins definitely amplified issues.)

Regardless of the bruises and soreness, we stored making an attempt. Every time we went, we marveled on the lack of crowds and the jolly nature of these we did encounter. We giggled on the sub-$25 path move and frolicked within the winter sights we had been handled to on every blue-square loop. And we couldn’t cease speaking about it, chatting excitedly earlier than every session and recounting the day on our drive residence.

We had been proving the psychological science on romantic companions: Couples who exercise with each other are happier, and doing a novel exercise with each other helps you feel more secure and satisfied. Truthfully, I felt nearer to my accomplice, like we had extra in widespread. It was so satisfying to do that new out of doors winter sport—collectively.

After three seasons of cross-country snowboarding, my accomplice and I can proudly say we’re in a long-term relationship with it; we have even invested in skis, poles, boots, and bindings. Every time we go, we marvel on the lack of crowds and the jolly nature of parents we do encounter. We giggle on the sub-$25 path passes and frolic within the winter sights we’re handled to on every loop.

Whereas I doubt we’ll ever solely hand over on downhill snowboarding, with cross-country snowboarding, my accomplice and I don’t should battle the traces to the lifts, our frustration with rising carry ticket costs, or our momentum on the downhill. We are able to simply… glide—very like the way in which cross-country snowboarding glided proper into our hearts.

Effectively+Good articles reference scientific, dependable, current, sturdy research to again up the knowledge we share. You’ll be able to belief us alongside your wellness journey.

  1. Sackett-Fox, Okay., Gere, J., & Updegraff, J. A. (2021). Higher collectively: The impression of exercising with a romantic accomplice. Journal of Social and Private Relationships, 38(11), 3078-3096.
  2. Cortes, Kassandra, et al. “Our adventures make me really feel safe: Novel actions increase relationship satisfaction by way of felt safety.” Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, vol. 89, July 2020, p. 103992,


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