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Cross-Country (Nordic) Skiing Style Part II. . .

Here's the Christmas fleece, with the logo of my alma mater, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, on the chest, which was given to me by The Grand Duchess last month.

Now under normal, daily circumstance, I am not a fleece kind of guy.  Anything but.  If it's a sweater I need, than it's one of several Norwegian types in my bottom dresser drawer, or a solid crew neck, or a fair isle type sweater.  I've got two of each of the latter that see a decent amount of wear from late fall to mid-spring each year, usually beneath a tweed sports jacket for good measure.  With corduroy pants and either penny loafers, or, on colder days, brogued wingtips.  What I laughingly have referred to for many years as my out of work actor's uniform.  Which is to say a waiter's uniform.

But when it comes to skiing, however, nothing beats a fairly lightweight fleece as an intermediary layer between my outer ski jacket and my polypropylene long underwear.  The thing about cross-country skiing is that you move around a lot and build up considerable body heat as a result, so you don't want bulky gear, but rather a number of lighter layers that you can shed as desired and if necessary.  Or if you're lucky since our high temperature was 14 degrees Fahrenheit here in Mid-Michigan today.  

Obviously, given our frigid temperature here today, I kept all layers on when I hit the trails midday after breakfast at our favorite local quick and greasy with The Grand Duchess before she headed into campus for the usual spate of Friday meetings.  I'm dumb, but I'm not stupid!

Another really nice thing about fleeces and wintertime outdoor athletics is that they are easy to toss into the washer and dryer after use.  Definitely not as easy to launder a wool sweater.  I still turn up my nose at the usual pilled earth tone variety worn by just about everybody in 2019, but fleeces do have their uses especially for those of us indulging in physical activity during the cooler/colder parts of the year.

How was my ski tour today?  Well, I've head better.  While we have over two inches of new powder that fell in the night, the base underneath is crunchy to icy thanks to a thaw midweek that saw us reach almost 40 degrees Fahrenheit before temperatures plunged well below freezing once again.  Since non-skiers here tend to walk in the ski tracks at most of our local nature preserves and parks (Grrrrrr!!!), conditions are not as good as they might be in a groomed ski area.  But I had the chance to be outside all by myself for a couple of hours midday as the wind blew through one snow squall after another.  So, no complaints.  

It has been a beautiful winter's day all things considered, and I wouldn't miss a chance to be out in it. 

-- Heinz-Ulrich

A Saturday P.S.
Very cold outside this morning with sparkly white snow everywhere.  One of the most beautiful natural vistas, to me at least, are the woods behind our house covered in powdery snow.  The scene always reminds me of the ski trails in the forests outside Trondheim, Norway where I cut my skiing teeth during the winter of 1999-2000.  Stunning doesn't begin to describe it.

And a nice mug of hot chocolate apres ski to help warm up the ol' bones.


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