Nordic Skates: Cat's Meow!
Tonight I finally mounted up and tried out the Nordic Skates I got last year. What fun! They were a total success.
Every winter we seem to have at least one spell where it's cold but we don't have skiable snow. The local waterways have thick black ice and maybe an inch or two of fluffy snow cover.
We've long enjoyed speed skating on our local black ice when it appears, but lately when I go skating on wild ice with my speeders I find myself constantly tripping over my skate-tips. Speed-skating is emphatically a heels-down sport -- you push from the heel and shove the foot *forward.* But there are other problems, too. Like putting the skates on when it's cold and windy: I bring a bucket and sit on it to put the skates on out on the ice. My fingers tend to be burning by the time I'm laced up.
Also, it's neat to include XC ski poling in on the game from time to time. But the heel-action of the speeders doesn't fit it too well. Ya know, maybe it's just my latest budget speeders. I don't recall having to be so heel-y with my other skates. These are pretty good ones, and long, but low-tops. Anyway, last year I bought my first pair of hockey skates and enjoyed them plenty. Lucy and her pals are enjoying skating so I take them out and skate, too. Hockey is fun, with all the carving and banking and tricky moves you can do. It's easy to ski-pole with them, too.
But then I noticed that Jamie at http://nordicskater.com had a great price on the original Nordic Skates. I guess it's a close-out on his remaining stock. $29 a pair. Good modern types can run $150 and up. I bought a pair of the old hardwood-based close-outs. Then we got more snow and I didn't want to skate no mo'. If you buy something from Jamie, tell 'im I sent you.
So I finally tried them tonight. There are a couple inches of fluffy snow on the lake, plus some rough patches and glitches under the snow, but mostly it was nice black ice under there. A dozen guys were out ice-fishing.
I skated around, mostly using ski poles, for a few miles and a half hour. Snags and snow pack grabbed at me a few times, causing me to pitch forward, but because of the free heel, I never fell ONCE. And I never had a bad skate-off. The tip is simply a non-issue, because the skate is attached by an XC ski binding.
Also, I wore my ski-skating boots while I drove to the lake, then walked out (toasty warm), clipped on the skates, and away I flew. Perfect!
It was a fast, lovely glide in the last light of day.
Earlier in the day we drove by the lake to see if the surface was good for skating and we saw a couple folks out skiing with kites. They were moving pretty good. The thing is, I bet I could pass them on skates. It's kinda funny that my pals and I might be the fastest "natural" folks on the ice, but other users like iceboats and kites can look fast to me. Then we'll go chase 'em down. The upshot is that it's too bad that I never get to see *other* people out enjoying fast skating when I'm not out there, but of course I can't see myself. It must be amazing to see someone just fly across the ice using the simplest of gear. But apparently not enough ever to inspire anyone else to give it a try.
The kite-skiing does look neat, though. But it seems like the new Kite-Wing is a better way to go. It's a mast-less windsurf sail that can be used on water, ice, snow and land. Most versatile of all! http://kitewing.com