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Feb 1, 201102:40 PMResident Tourist

Looking to Chill

Feb 1, 2011 - 02:40 PM
Looking to Chill

The cute vintage sign in our rented house makes downhill skiing look easy.

Last winter, I succumbed to peer pressure to downhill ski despite the total lack of skills and an intense dislike for speed.

Still emotionally scarred a year later by a harrowing descent on the green level “Salamander” slope at West Virginia's Timberline Resort, I resolved to bring a stack of good books and crossword puzzles and to skip the slippery antics on this year’s ski trip.

I would prop pillows by the cozy fireplace and not even once think about riding the swaying ski lift, dangling like an earring over a vast icy mountainside, while people darted like hornets all over the slope below.

No, this year, I would avoid the whole chaotic scene and stay put in our cabin. At least that was my plan until I heard about White Grass.

Just five miles from our rented house was a laid-back, cross-country ski mecca with a homey café and a hippie vibe, and it was there—after enjoying a delicious bowl of spinach and barley soup and a turkey Panini—that I found my new sport.

Proof that I did it. White Grass has been outfitting cross-country skiers since 1959 and it has a North Pole, vintage feel: a big, pot-bellied wood stove glows in the foyer and hand-painted signs adorn the rental area. No molded plastic boots stomped up steps; no bad, expensive hot-dogs and pizza congealed in the lodge; no lift lines (or ambulances parked nearby!).

The difference between the hubbub of the downhill slopes and the whispery winter trails at White Grass was the perfect cure for my ski-related terror. A 20-minute mini-lesson (only $6!) with a cute instructor had me striding and gliding in short order past barns and horses and snow-laden pine branches.

I stuck to the “easy beginner” trails, but there are more challenging ones with sections of hills and twists for the thrill-seeker. For a path to becoming a fearless skier, it's totally chill.

How about you? Would you trade downhill thrills for a country glide through the woods?

For photos of my White Grass experience, view my gallery below.

White Grass

Old to new | New to old
Feb 1, 2011 03:12 pm
 Posted by  amandaw

I love this area! I have been to white grass for hiking in the spring and fall. We have been considering a cross country trip this winter (our family are die hard downhill skiiers), maybe this is the place.

I would suggest a visit to the Purple Fiddle in nearby Davis to anyone in the valley. The Purple Fiddle is a restaurant/coffee house with live music most nights. It attracts a family crowd and there are often kids, teens and adults all dancing to some great bands.

Feb 1, 2011 03:41 pm
 Posted by  StengerFrank

Great stuff Dani...more, more, more!!!!

Feb 1, 2011 04:31 pm
 Posted by  Binky

What a fun job you have here, Dani. Exciting and adventurous. Keep up the good "work."

Feb 2, 2011 08:15 am
 Posted by  DougSpiro

The Resident tourists strikes again! You always pick beautiful areas that are really in our backyard and leave us with a gem like White Grass. I can't wait until the next adventure!!!

PS good job on the Salamander” slope¡¡¡

Feb 2, 2011 11:41 am
 Posted by  LM

sounds like a good place to try while the others are downhill skiing! crosswords still sound good though...

Feb 2, 2011 06:04 pm
 Posted by  Linda

Dani -

I just love your writing style. You really know how to capture the essense of a place and your imagery just cracks me up. But overall, it really sounds like a great adventure. Hmmmm - I've always wanted to give cross-country a try.


Feb 10, 2011 05:34 pm
 Posted by  City traveler

Many years ago a terrifying crisscross trip down an ice sheet-covered "medium"-level slope put downhill skiing in the "I will never ever do that again" category. But this sounds great. And I love what sounds like an old-fashioned, down-home ambiance. Gonna check out right now exactly where White Grass is located and make a plan. Then next time a snowstorm is forecast for our area we can head out to White Grass and have fun instead of being snowbound here. Thanks! Looking forward to reading your summer- heat destinations.

Feb 11, 2011 08:09 pm
 Posted by  RD

Loved the shot of "lavender snow"...really made we want to go there. Last time I went cross country skiing was over 10 years ago...in Russia! Your article made me think that I should give it another try closer to home.

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