Winter Cross-Training: Cross-Country Skiing

The Grand River from Burchfield Park ski trails

It’s not all basement riding in winter in mid-Michigan. When the weather’s nice and there’s snow on the ground, there’s no better way to cross-train for cycling than to head out on the cross-country ski trails. Whether you’re doing classic style or skate-skiing, you’ll be working muscles of the upper body that get overlooked on the bike, strengthening your core, and keeping your legs in condition. In addition to the workout, it’s nice to get some fresh air, take in the winter scenes, and maybe even spot some wildlife.

Abbot Road Park

A trail in Abbot Road Park, East Lansing

If you have your own skis, the Lansing area has an abundance of wooded trails, as well as snow-covered bike paths and golf courses. For instance, today I went for a lunch-time ski at Abbot Rd. Park in East Lansing, partly on the trails and partly on the Northern Tier Trail bike path. Forty-five minutes of skiing, there and back in an hour. The snow was crusty, with plenty of previous tracks to follow. A tree had fallen across the trail since my last time there, but it wasn’t too difficult to get around it. It just added to the adventure!

If you need to rent, Burchfield Park near Holt has gear and groomed trails as well. Farther afield, Huron Meadows Metropark near Brighton has fifteen miles of groomed trails, and is popular with skate skiers.

Cross-country skis

Cross-country skis

If you’re new to cross-country skiing, you may want to take a lesson. In the Lansing area, Jeff Potter of OutYourBackDoor.com offers lessons. Huron Meadows sometimes has classes, and if you don’t mind driving two hours north, Cross Country Ski Headquarters offers lessons, rentals, a full ski shop, and twelve miles of groomed trails for both skate and classic skiers.

Now let’s hope we keep getting consistent snow and cold temperatures for the rest of the winter, then a nice warmup in April to about 70 degrees for some good riding.

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