What do you do in the winter when you can’t stand up paddle?

What do you in the winter when you can’t stand up paddle? Do you live where it is hard to paddle all year round?  Where there is snow on the ground and your lakes are frozen some or most of the time? Some of us are not as fortunate to be able to grab our board and head down to the water unless it means getting on a plane for a warmer destination, but that is another story.

I took up skate skiing about 3 winters ago, it was challenging at first.  My underused walnut sized lungs were stressed at first. But after a few times out I wasn’t huffing, puffing and wheezing like I was at the start. You are generally at a higher elevation which is harder in itself but once you get the “glide” as they say you will love it!  Such a perfect crossover for those you want to still stay in shape for paddling season.

Take a lesson

When I decide to try something new I usually just go out and buy all the equipment and line up some lessons. I have always been the just jump in the deep end kind of girl. But not everyone can do that, priorities sometimes get in the way or cash flow. Renting is the best option to start something new. Head up to your local Nordic centre and rent some equipment and arrange for some lessons. We have a great area here in the South Okanagan called Nickel Plate Nordic Centre. Such a beautiful place, which usually on a sunny day will get 2 hours more sun then the downhill area of Apex Resort will get.

The Benefits of Skate Skiing 

Some people tried to talk me into learning Classic first but I wasn’t really interest in learning 2 sports. Skate looked faster and yes a little harder. I was on a mission to lose some weight and see if I could change my lung capacity, which both happened. Bonus! Skate is amazing conditioning for any sport.  You will see a lot of well-known triathletes’ skate skiing at your local Nordic areas.  Don’t let me scare you; you don’t have to be at triathlete level. Like any sport you can walk or you can run.

There are many benefits associated with skate skiing and you use many of the same muscle groups used when you are stand up paddling. Classic style can be done on just about anywhere there is fresh or good snow, but it is more fluid when there is a set track already set. Skating technique requires a groomed track so going up to your local Nordic centre is required.

Once you have the glide figured out in skate you can challenge yourself a bit more and head up a few of the hills which will build up your cardio endurance. It will give you a lot more confidence and longevity when you are heading out on the Okanangan Lake on those longer touring or downwind sessions.

In skate during the kick phase you use many of the same muscles in your legs as you do when paddling. Your quads, hamstrings, abductors/abductors, quads and calf muscles. I really noticed my feet when starting both SUP, Skate Skiing it feels very much the same as stand on my board in really choppy water.

Embrace BC Winters and Get Outside!

 Just get out there and go at an easy pace to start with. It is all about enjoying the amazing winters we experience here in the Okanangan. Just getting up above the clouds and seeing the gorgeous back country is a perfect way to keep your mental and physical health in check. Embrace B.C. Winters!