Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Celebrating skinny

    Skinny skis are “it” this week.
    With an array of events that began last week, the Nordic Festival will culminate in the event’s granddaddy, the Boulder Mountain Tour, on Saturday. The festival is a great example of what energetic communities and volunteers can do to encourage lifetime sports.
    Saturday’s Ski the Rails tour saw people of all abilities and all ages glide along what once was the rail line from Ketchum to Hailey. Aid station volunteers welcomed them and cheered them on.
    The week-long festival is a remarkable celebration of outdoor life, which these days too often falls into the fluorescent shadow of indoor electronic pursuits.
    It celebrates motion that’s essential to human health. It celebrates snow, essential to the health of the earth. It brings families and friends together in affordable winter recreation and conviviality, essential for good human relations. It’s a time for strangers to become friends, united in their love of cross-country skiing.
    The week highlights the notable foresight of Blaine County and its cities in linking themselves together with trails friendly for walking, snowshoeing, skiing and summer cycling. It shows off the magnificent Harriman Trail that parallels the snow-padded Big Wood River and its sentinels, the Boulder Mountains. (BTW, anyone who likes the trails in the winter should see them in the summer.)
    Last year, nearly 1,000 racers participated in the tour while several thousand more friends and family supported them in the 32-kilometer (19.8-mile) roller coaster ride from Galena Lodge at the start to North Fork at the southern finish.
    Only one person will top the podium on Saturday, but everyone who celebrates the exhilaration of being outdoors will win.

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