Feb 1, 201102:40 PMResident Tourist
Looking to Chill
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.
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.