January has long been my least favourite month. Here in Alberta, it’s long, dark and cold. With the busyness and social whirl of Christmas behind me, I usually begin to feel down. This year, however, that blue feeling didn’t kick in until the month was almost over. I attribute that, at least in part, to warmer than average temperatures and lots of cross country skiing.
I love the swish of my skis under a crystal blue sky with the snow sparkling all around me. Even on cloudy days, getting out and getting active invigorates me. The past month has been the best I ever remember for cross country skiing. In my opinion, the best temperatures for the sport are between zero and -15C. Any colder and it becomes too uncomfortable; any warmer and the snow becomes sticky. Unlike most Januarys when the temperature often plunges to -30 or colder, there have been many days in the past month when the conditions have been ideal and I’ve done my best to take advantage of them.
So far, I’ve done all of my skiing on the local golf course. It’s close and easy to access. In fact, all it involves is carrying my skis to the end of our block! I didn’t even have to break many trails this year. Nathan did that when he was home for Christmas. If the conditions continue, however, I want to break some out on the farm where we work in the spring and fall. I’ve seen some beautiful spots from the tractor and combine that I’d like to explore on skis.
My skis and boots are about 40 years old, purchased by my Mom when she lived in Yellowknife and passed down to me when she no longer used them. That was more than 20 years ago. They don’t owe me anything but imagine my dismay one day early this month when the back half of the sole suddenly separated from my right ski boot! Sedgewick is a town of 900 people. It has a grocery store, a drugstore and even a small liquor store but it most definitely doesn’t have a sporting goods store. I didn’t mind the idea of a new pair of boots but it would mean a trip to the city two hours away. It might also have meant buying new skis or at least new bindings because I’m not sure that new boots would fit my old cable bindings. Worst of all, it would mean missing several good skiing days as I wasn’t able to drop everything else and head for the city the moment the crisis hit.
What to do? I noticed that the sole had originally been glued on. Could I repair it myself? It was certainly worth a try if I could find the right glue. I dug around and discovered that I had a tube of Quick Grip permanent adhesive that claimed to be water and weatherproof. I’d originally bought it to fix a broken vase. It didn’t work all that well on the vase but would it fix a ski boot? I didn’t hold out a lot of hope but I had nothing to lose. I slathered it on quite liberally, wrapped the boot in laces to hold it together while the glue dried and left it overnight. It’s been holding together ever since! How’s that for innovative and frugal?
Now January is almost over and the days are getting noticeably longer. February is definitely still winter and I certainly hope to be able to do lots more skiing but somewhere later in the month, it will begin to hint at the possibility of spring. Before I know it, I will have survived another Alberta winter!