We make our way around the looping trail to the Biathlon course. It’s a warm but overcast day and we ski without talking for a while, enjoying the serene landscape and fresh air. Winter stops us in front of the Biathlon’s shooting range and gives us a bit of history: apparently, the sport was invented by bored Norwegian soldiers who would inevitably combine cross-country skiing and rifle shooting.
As we stand stationary on our skis, talking, I somehow trip myself and collapse in a tangled mass. Winter shows me how to properly get up without unclipping my skis and we move along. I'm accumulating pro tips left and right and feel the full import of the value of getting a proper lesson really strikes me.
As we near the end of the cross country skiing for beginners lesson and approach the lodge uphill, I become very aware just how out of shape I am. I’m never, ever going to become a jogger but this "jogging in the snow" is really something I could get into. It certainly doesn’t hurt to get introduced to the sport on a course steeped in Olympic history, in the placid and scenic Heber Valley.
When I walk in the lodge and everything blurs into a dark green void, I realize that I’m snow-blind. Next time: sunglasses. I’m already planning ahead.
When the snow accumulates, Soldier Hollow's Nordic trails are open 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily, and range from "easy rollers" to the stuff Olympic dreams are made on. Get additional information, and information of conditions, lessons and rentals.