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 In Diary of a Ski Musteress
Oozing positive vibes, the cross-country ski instructors at Snow Farm NZ made me feel that anything is possible

Three things I discovered during my first cross-country ski lesson at Snow Farm NZ

1 Ditch the nerves

Remember that feeling the night before the start of term, the buzz, the fear, the anticipation? Well, the minute I stepped out onto the snow for my first beginners’ classic lesson all of that tension melted away as my instructor Peter began to patiently coach me through a cross-country skiing technique: learning to double-pole, with both skis gliding along reassuring ready-made tracks.

Clearly I don’t (yet!) properly merit the expert attention of a national Slovakian biathlete, but patient Peter managed to get me moving and all four limbs operating skis and poles in a forward motion within the hour — result!

2 Layer up with thermals

But be prepared to peel ’em off. Cross-country (XC) skiing is the ultimate full body workout. I warmed up within minutes thanks to the aerobic exertion combined with the blue skies and sunshine.

An hour of cross-country skiing is wildly different to an hour of downhill skiing (no ski lifts involved for starters!). According to BUPA, you can burn around 1000 calories per hour ‘skinny skiing’ as opposed to 400 calories per hour downhill skiing. If that doesn’t justify a scrumptious barista coffee and brownie after class, I don’t know what does.

3 Lean forward a bit more

And my third and favourite and most memorable lesson to take away from today? That to get the hang of double-poling it helps for me to lean forward more than I think is natural. In other words, until I can spit on my skis without dribbling down my chest. Sounds weird, right? Try it! But there’s no need to actually spit!


Margaret, 28 June

Follow ‘Diary of a Ski Musteress’ on Snow Farm NZ’s and Merino Muster’s websites, Facebook,
Instagram and Twitter social media pages, plus on Margaret’s Instagram page @BattyIdeas

A bit about me:

After 30 years of commuting, career and city life
in crowded London and travelling to over 90
countries, I moved to wonderful Wanaka with
Gary, to pause, breathe and reconnect with the
mountains – and my muscles…We’re totally
smitten with New Zealand, immersing ourselves
in all four seasons, biking, hiking, kayaking and
skiing, for a precious year-off (an ‘OE’ in our
fifties) before heading back to England,

Attempting the Merino Muster is my nod to the famous Kiwi ‘give it a go’ attitude.


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