Before this skiing practical I knew nothing about skiing especially Nordic skiing. I had never skied before until this practical came around and I have learned so much these last couple weeks about skiing and about myself. I never thought I would be good at skiing nor did I think I would even like it but I was proven wrong. I may not be a natural skier but I think I’ve picked up on the skills quite fast and have improved a lot. Every class has been filled with fun and laughter, mostly when people fall or when we do something wrong but that’s how we learn and when we fall we get back up and try again. I have surprisingly only fallen twice this entire practical session which I think is very impressive, maybe it’s because I’m not a risk taker so I only do things that aren’t too crazy but either way I’m still proud of myself as my only goals for this practical were to not fall and to have fun.
Everything that has been taught in this course has been something new to me. Before the first day of class I wouldn’t have known how to measure for the appropriate ski and pole lengths, how to dress appropriately for the weather conditions, how to put skis on and off, and for that matter, how to actually ski. I have been put out of my comfort zone but with myself motivation and motivation from others in my group I was able to overcome my fear of failing since this is something I didn’t think I was good at. I will be the first to admit that I was not excited for this practical simply because I had never skied before and I am not one to try something new in front of people I don’t know very well but after having one class I realized I had nothing to be scared about. In fact, I have had so much fun that I think I will be adding this to my winter sport list to do for recreational purposes with family and friends on top of all the other great outdoor activities. I enjoyed doing this because it was not only fun, it’s a great exercise, has beautiful scenery and all ages as well as skill levels can enjoy it too.
After taking part in this practical it has opened my eyes to the other possible experiences the BPHE program could offer. It was nice to have a practical where we can experience the great outdoors rather than always being stuck in the gym doing your typical gym class activities that we’ve all participated in at one point or another throughout our high school careers. If I were to plan a physical education program I would be looking at more outdoor style activities whether they are in the winter months or summer months like snowshoeing or biking. I am a very active individual who loves being outside rather than being stuck inside, I was one of those kids that their parents had to fight to get them inside to eat supper, do homework or get ready for bed. Still to this day if I have an opportunity to be outside doing something I will chose that rather than something inside. The canoeing and Nordic skiing practical’s have been by far my favourite due to the fact that they were both outdoor activities. I am not saying I would eliminate all indoor practical’s, I would just like to see more of the outdoor type of activities.
I would just like to end by saying thank you Mike for creating fun ways to learn how to ski as well as teaching us how to canoe last semester, both practical’s have been filled with a lot of fun and a lot of laughter. You are a great teacher, I have learned a lot from you in both practical’s and I hope that I will be able to take another course that is taught by you in the future.
Today, it is known as Nordic skiing but before it was known as a way of transportation. Nordic skiing or as others call it cross country skiing dates all the way back to 5000 years ago in Scandinavia and by the 1890s Nordic skiing was finally introduced to Canada (Cross-Country Skiing. n.d.). In Canada, Nordic skiing has been used for transportation throughout the winter and from 1927 until now it has been a way for millions of Canadians to enjoy the great outdoors for recreational purposes as well (Cross-Country Skiing. n.d.). Now Nordic skiing is not only used for transportation and/or recreational purposes, it is also a sport at the Olympic level that athletes from all around the world compete in to see who is the best of the best.
A lot of things have changed since Nordic skiing was first discovered until now, to start with, there were no set locations with specific trails or tracks for Nordic skiers back in the day. Individuals who skied had to make their own trails and tracks whether it was for recreational purposes or for transportation since nothing was groomed for them (Cross-country skiing. 2019, December 29). There are now multiple places that have trails that are groomed with tracks for anyone to use. After a big snowfall however, you do see some individuals skiing on the sides of roads headed to the corner store, making their own paths like individuals had to do back when there weren’t any other modes of transportation.
Skis are another thing that have changed, skis started off being constructed of unlaminated wood and were extremely heavy and fastened very awkwardly (Cross-Country Skiing. n.d.). The skis were multiple kilograms each which forced skiers to take them off and carry them up hills rather than wear them up like we can do now (Cross-Country Skiing. n.d.). Norwegian Thorleif Haug later invented screw-on steel toe-plates in 1915 to help remove the carve slots through the middle of the skis to hold toe-straps that were previously needed allowing skis to become shorter, narrower and way lighter (Cross-Country Skiing. n.d.). Throughout the 1980s and 1990s ski waxing was introduced as well as no-wax skis, these techniques were used to lower the difficulty of ski preparation and aid with certain weather conditions to enhance performance (Cross-Country Skiing. n.d.).
Lastly, skiers only used one long pole or a spear like implement with one ski on each foot (Ski pole. 2019). It wasn’t until 1741 that skiers started to use two ski poles rather to help with balance, pushing, braking and turning purposes (Ski pole. 2019). Ski poles were originally made of pine and bamboo materials which you will still see today however, they are now more commonly made of aluminum and carbon fibers (Ski pole. 2019). Ski poles have also been upgraded to be more beneficial for skiers, they now have actual grips at the tops of the poles with straps to hold on to, tips to help dig into the snow as well as baskets at the end of the ski poles to stop the ski poles from digging in too far (Ski Poles. n.d.).
In conclusion, Nordic skiing has been around for thousands of years and proceeds to become more popular as each year passes. It is now seen more as a competition, sport and/or a recreational activity rather than used for transportation purposes like it was designated to do originally. It is very rare to see an individual skiing on the side of the road nowadays however, I’m sure there are some individuals around the world that still use it as a mode of transportation rather than driving to their destination in the winter if it is a reasonable distance away. As for the equipment, it has changed a lot as well and with all this new technology, manufactures are looking at redesigning or creating new equipment that will help improve an individual’s performance when Nordic skiing.