For years I would tell people "If I could be a pro in any sport, it'd be Triathlon, but I'd definitely settle for Nordic skiing".
Of course, this year I haven't even swam once.
But I digress...
When I was in 8th grade. In our "careers" course we had to take I got to hear an incredible talk from the then New England Nordic Ski Association director.
Hearing him talk about Nordic, I was hooked.
Turns out, he'd end up teaching me to Nordic ski, and he'd later become my XC running coach, and one of the most influential people in my life to date.
But I digress....
When we moved to WV, I accepted the fact that I would have to put my XC skiing on hold for 4-6 years while I worked on my PhD. But, I knew that with shorter and milder winters I'd be able to do a lot more spring and winter training that I didn't get to do in Vermont.
However, I have been shocked by how much skiing I've done in WV. In fact, in 2010/2011 I had my second biggest ski year of my life. I also had some epic single days, including one day where I skied 40k in a single go.
I've blogged about this before, but I've been shocked by the quality of skiing in WV and the surrounding area.
But I digress...
White grass. Probably in my top 5 favorite physical places in WV. The Canaan Valley is so incredible, and White grass touring center just epitomizes what I look for in a XC ski destination.
The skiing is unique. I have used my race skis, but I don't like to. Not that there isn't enough snow, because there's always a ton, even when everyone else around is brown (and I mean, like New England has no snow and White grass will have ski-able conditions).
Rather, it's an adventure kind of place. The trails as narrow, and like everywhere else in WV, the terrain is STEEP, and demanding.
But it's not just the skiing, it's also the people.
Chip, the owner, is so kind, and willing to talk with anyone about anything. He's passionate about skiing, but passionate about fostering a sort of ambiance at White Grass too. One of acceptance, and of relaxation, and fun.
You really do come to White grass to "get away".
Sure, there's a race, but it's the most laid-back, anything-goes ski race I've ever done.
Except it is REALLY hard.
Also, WV is the place where Carly learned to ski, so it'll always be special to us in that regard. Carly loves to ski, and we really enjoy skiing together. Most of the rest of the year I'm out cycling and running without her, and Nordic is a time for us to really enjoy an athletic endeavor together.
Will I ski at White grass again? Probably.
Not soon enough.