It’s late January and the collective we are getting ready for the next snow storm. Six to nine inches of fresh fluff is on its way. It is at once peaceful and quiet, falling softly from the sky laying blankets of white everywhere, and noisy with its accompanying school closing announcements, event cancellations and the various plowing machines it sets in motion. For some it is a time to run in and hibernate. But for the snow bunny genus, it brings a gleam to our eyes signaling it’s finally playtime! One way to enjoy this weather is to get out and cross country ski. Believed to be developed in Sweden, which boasts ownership of a 4500 year old fossilized ski, cross country skiing was once a form of transportation. It is more of a recreation sport now and if you are an Ithaca snow bunny, you are blessed with a wide variety of habitats and many playmates. A great place to connect with other bunnies is through the Cayuga Nordic Ski Group.
Per the group treasurer, Joan Jedele, “The ski club was founded in the mid 80’s and one of the founding members is Tob deBoer. He was the president of the club until 2003 and still is an active member in the club.” From the by-laws, the club promotes “Nordic ski events suitable for skiers of all abilities. These may include tours, races, ski technique clinics, racing clinics, waxing clinics etc.” Having been a member for two months now, I can attest to the wonderful community the group is and the fun to be had. Group outings happen as regularly as the weather allows, which this year has been pretty much since Thanksgiving.
Community members host weekly night skis, such as that out at Hammond Hill led by Mike and Raylene Ludgate, of Ludgate Farms. Breaking trail with the local store owners comes with the added benefit of enjoying gourmet chocolates at frozen forest intersections. The CNSG also has a presence at area races and organizes trips for those interested in going further north for winter fun. In February there is a fun trip to BREIA, the Black River Environmental Improvement Area up in the Tugg Hill plateau region, for two days of groomed trails and camaraderie.
At a recent group ski out at Yellow Barn State Forest in Dryden approximately a dozen of us, ranging in age from 3 to 77 skied a 4 mile loop of gorgeous (Ithaca is!) terrain. The group divided into fast and medium skiers with the former racing circles around the latter as we made our way out and back. With check-ins at every intersection and a designated sweep to bring up the caboose, no one was left out for slowness or lack of ability.
So, what do you do upon finishing a good ski? Aprés-ski, but of course! Similar to the 9th hole celebration at a golf game, aprés-ski offers a chance to unwind, enjoy some heart and body warming treats and get to know your fellow bunnies. An essential part of all events, group members contribute goodies such as trail mix, hot cocoa and oranges. When there is nowhere to drive après après-ski, glögg, or mulled wine, makes a fine drink with a salute back to the Swedes.
Other bennies for the ski group bunnies includes discounts at businesses throughout the area such as Cayuga Ski and Cyclery, Podunk Ski Shop and Eastern Mountain Sports.
For more information go to: http://www.cayuganordicski.org/site/.
See you on the trails!
1 bottle of red wine
½ a liter of brandy or vodka
2 cinnamon sticks
2-3 dried figs (optional)
Sugar to taste
Throw the first 5 ingredients in a non-reactive soup kettle and place on the woodstove. Bring to a simmer, but do not boil. Place a trivet under the pot and allow to cook slowly for about an hour. Taste the glögg and sweeten to your liking. When ready to serve, place a teaspoon or two of the raisins and almonds in the bottom of a teacup. Ladle glögg over and serve with a spoon for scooping.
Adventures of an Upstate NY Snow Bunny
Joey Diana Gates
POB 441, Ithaca, NY 14851
email@example.com (607) 351-0664