One winter morning in the Huron Hills Golf Course in Ann Arbor, Michigan. It’s close from my home.
Nobody (can) plays golf there in winter. It transforms into a park.
In the mid-January, Michigan is in deep winter.
It does not snow much in the southeastern Michigan, but sometimes snows heavily and accumulates pretty deep.
If the temperature is about 35 – 40F on the next day after a heavy snowfall, it’s perfect for winter outdoor sports. If it is sunny, it’s even better.
A family with their pet dog, enjoying sledding.
I am from southern Japan where it rarely snows. You can’t imagine how exotic it is for somebody like me to be able to sled and ski casually in a nearby park.
I notice traces of cross-country skiing.
This is a public golf course, but in winter you can cross-country ski all over the place freely (this is amazing to me).
The golf course has gentle hills. You can go down the hills with cross country skis and feel as if you were donwhill skiing – on bunny hills (laugh).
Cross-country skiing is not spectacular like downhill skiing, but is fun to do and addictive.
At one time, I quite liked it and got into it.
(I never tried snowboarding, however, because I was too old when it became a known sport (laugh).
What’s great about cross-country skiing is that you can do it in a park in your neighborhood. There are so many beautiful and spacious parks in Michigan – no comparison to my hometown in Japan.
It’s also great that it does not cost a lot of money like downhill skiing. You don’t need to buy or rent expensive ski boots. You don’t need to buy lift tickets. You don’t need to drive far away and stay in a hotel.
If you get into winter sports, you will start looking forward to snowfalls.
You will jump for joy if snow accumulates, especially on Thursday or Friday – perfect for skiing on Saturday morning.
In about half an hour, you will be very warm. You may be sweaty.
Hot chocolate with marshmallow in after skiing tastes so good.
If you grew up in the U.S., probably none of this is interesting to you, but all of this experience was new and fascinating to me who grew up in a warm place abroad.
This week would have been too frigid for me – the temperature dipped as far as -2F (-19C) (*o*)!! I have never been tough enough to be outside when that cold.
Many places in Michigan are hilly – great for sledding and cross-country skiing.
A view from Huron Parkway
When I started getting into cross-country skiing, I wanted to buy my own skis and carry them on the roof of my car. I always thought it’s cool to drive around with your own skis on the roof your car – just like surfers drive with their surf boards on the roof of their (junky) cars.
If you are new to cross-country skiing, rent skis. In Ann Arbor where I live, there are at least three places you can rent skis just for a day.
If you are new to downhill skiing, you will probably want to take lessons first, but for cross-country skiing you won’t need any lessons. It’s very intuitive. I did it on my first try, just like power-walking.
And don’t worry about whether you are doing it in the right forms. In Japan, people make a big deal of if you are doing whatever sport in the right forms (maybe not now – they did when I lived there). In fact they pay too much attention to the right forms. Same for sport gear – too much attention is paid to wearing the right sport gear from head to toe. It’s lot more casual here in the U.S. (which I like). You can downhill ski wearing just ordinary ski pants and jackets. Same for tennis – you can play it very casually in a public tennis court wearing a worn-out T-shirt. In Japan, tennis had the very classy image that I used to feel I would have to wear the “right” tennis wear to enter a tennis court.
There is an article which lists good places in the county for cross-country skiing and the places for renting skis: annarbor.com
One of the places listed in the article for ski rent hosts a ski swap four times a year. A ski swap! That’s a good idea. I don’t know if any sport shop in Japan does that. Americans certainly come up with all kinds of interesting ideas.
- Winter Sports Benefits: Skiing, Snowboarding, Hockey, Ice Skating, and More (webmd.com)
- Cross Country Skiing! (luckytiff.wordpress.com)