What it's like to cross country (XC) ski in Tahoe

In short: good cardio, sometimes frustrating, but generally peaceful.

While I am a generally healthy person, I have zero skills in sports and am very lacking in coordination. Despite this, I was inspired by last year's winter Olympics to try something new but not super intense: cross-country skiing. I figured it would be akin to running half-marathons: privileged people pretending to be into cardio.

My friend and I went to Tahoe Cross Country ski area in Tahoe City.
We arrived about half an hour before the 10:30 group lesson. This was nice so we could use the restroom, prep what we were gonna bring, pay for the lesson and rental, and strap on these triforce marked shoes (I guess it's not distinctive enough to be trademarked by Nintendo). 

The lesson was about an hour, and went over basics: how to use the equipment, how to move, how to get up from a fall, and techniques on handling different terrain. The lesson and equipment rental were $70 total (for all day). A permit to go on the grounds was $32 and rentals are $30, so it made sense to do the lesson at first.
After the lesson, we traversed uphill and then went to east/green route that was mostly flat with slight uphill slopes. This was the cardio and peaceful part of the journey: in 2 hours of skiing around we maybe saw 10-15 people total. It was really quiet and serene, almost felt like adventuring [in Breath of the Wild].
About 90 minutes in I started getting out of breath and needing to take more breaks. We even took time to make a snow angel.
The frustrating part was finding it difficult to slow down going downhill. I fell at least 6 times, and although I slightly improved my "pizza wedge," I gave up at the last big slope and just walked downhill.

All-in-all, while not exactly cheap, XC skiing was a nice intro to skiing and time well-spent being outdoors. I also burned around 600-800 calories from moving my arms and legs. If you want a mostly peaceful but athletic activity in the snow, I'd recommend XC-skiing!


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