These are the times that try cross-country skiers' souls. The weather has not been cooperative for creating that special feeling you get from skiing over the holidays.  Time off from work and plenty of snow is a recipe for extraordinary fun.  However, this year December has been soggy and icy at times with punches of snow that haven’t lasted all that long. The cold spell in November was unusual and it did allow a few days for the ski groomers to get out. Then fog and clouds rolled in and it has been kind of murky for most of the month of December.

For the most part in Pennsylvania, the cross-country skiing really does not get going until January, with February and early March typically being the best months. The exception would be near Lake Erie and possibly the Laurel Highlands that benefit from the cold air pressing across the Great Lakes earlier in the season. The missing ingredient has been cold air. It came early and then left Pennsylvania in the lurch. In many snow lean years one could be nordic skating or ice skating by now.  I tried a day or two ago but the ice was too thin. I do believe in the law of averages though. I can’t say for sure but I expect the cold air to return in January.

For now it is time to be patient and continue to do other fitness activities. The roller skiing, running, and bicycling through the neighborhoods decorated with lights has been fun. My ski equipment is ready and I have plans to head north if I have to later this year. Most experienced skiers in Pennsylvania know that winter is fickle in Pennsylvania and it takes some patience to deal with the continual changing conditions. So chin up everyone, it is the holidays and winter is by no measure over.  Keep on the fitness path and be ready. The snow can arrive literally over night and all will be well with the nordic skiers again. 

Here is a parting photo to relax you and get that positive vibe that snow will return again.  Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.  HP

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Moshannon State Forest  (off Route 504)  Late Winter A Couple of Years Ago  

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