Closer to Home: cross-country skiing in Edmonton

Editor’s note: Once a week here at Transforming Edmonton we’ve been sharing some of our favourite places in the city. The pandemic has shortened the travel horizon for many. And that’s okay, because there are plenty of gems in different parts of our city that are worth a visit. Each week a different City of Edmonton team member gives you a story about a fave spot closer to home. This is Glenn Kubish’s view.

For those who can read tracks, the signs are there. 

The cross-country ski tracks, I mean. 

You see them above Whitemud Drive, like in the pic at the top of the post. 

You see them around the perimeter of parks: 

Laurier Heights Park, November 13, 2020.

And you see them off the beaten track in the MacKinnon Ravine: 

MacKinnon Ravine looking east toward Groat Road Bridge, November 13, 2020.

I am no expert in reading tracks, so I might be completely off-base here. But what I read in these tracks goes like this. 

They belong to people who are COVID-weary of life indoors and inside Zoom rooms. 

Or they belong to people who wonder if the great outdoors can supplement physical workouts in gyms and fitness centres. 

Maybe they are the tracks of people who cannot wait for winter, and for whom skiing across new snow feels as good as a sentence that writes itself across a page. 

Maybe they are the tracks of Edmontonians who love fresh air. And the pace of life on skis.

My friend Charity is already out there, breaking trail in the open park space south of 23 Avenue  in Blue Quill. 

Making tracks in Blue Quill.

Seeing all the tracks in the snow gave me the idea to go find my skis from Grade 11. I haven’t used them much, but have hung onto them just the same. 

And there they were, up in the garage rafters next to some old hockey sticks and a piece of baseboard for the hallway that I’ll get working on this weekend—after I make tracks and go skiing. 

Cross-country skis coming out of storage.