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Bailey + Eric: Showing Up

Is someone cutting onions? Bailey recently shared her thoughts about the challenges of starting a new sport, the courage it takes to be uncomfortable with being uncomfortable and the importance of showing up. These are really important words that resonated with us, and are in need of being shared with the rest of the nordie community. Enjoy.


With that, let's get to it.




 


bailey + eric

We're Skiing...Finally




Up until a few days ago, it’s been a tough winter for snow-sport enthusiasts in Duluth this year. We’ve only gotten a couple of inches of snow and much of that has melted or not accumulated enough for trails to be groomed. Even those places that have been able to make snow have had to shut down for extended periods due to wet and warm weather.


Finally – not only is it cold enough to make snow again (and honestly, too cold!) but we also received some fresh snow and both Telemark Village in Cable at the Birkebeiner Trailhead and Spirit Mountain Nordic Center have opened their loops (thank you to all the snow-makers!!).




 

bailey + eric

None Of The Skiers Looked Like Me




I was able to get out and ski circles for a little over an hour yesterday. On my drive over I felt more excited than usual, I had received new skate boots as a Christmas gift after discovering that my old boots were combi-style boots...and were children's boots. In my head, adult, skate-specific boots were going to make a world of difference and I couldn't wait to test them out.


When I arrived at the parking lot, I saw a lot of skiers climbing up the steep hills and V2-ing their way across the stadium. I felt my heart sink a little. None of the skiers looked like me – the vast majority were men and nearly all of them were flying up the hill in near-perfect form, transitioning easily from V1 to V2 as it flattened out, and then switching back to V1 as they started climbing again.


I would classify myself as above-average on the athletic scale for my age, but I am still very new to skate skiing, and hills are my nemesis. I got my first pair of skate skis in January of 2021, and apparently, my first real pair of skate boots for Christmas this year! I knew that I would be one of the slowest, if not the slowest, climbing up the steep hill. I knew I would probably end up slowing someone else down who didn’t have room to pass me on the incline.


But I knew I was going skiing anyway.


I pulled on my new boots, flipped my headlight on, put my right earbud in (I only ever ski with one), turned on Loud Mouth by tiLLie, and off I went.


I felt better as soon as I started skiing. I wasn’t as slow as I thought I was and the skiers spread out quite a bit once on the trail. Only once did someone get stuck behind me, and I used it as a chance to do unexpected interval training, pushing my hardest to the top. Usually, I ended up skiing a comfortable distance behind someone else and was able to take the time to watch their form and try to copy them.


About halfway through my ski I had a bit of a “runners high” moment. Letting gravity pull me down the trail, I marveled at the snow-covered pines reflecting the moon. I marveled at myself a little too – how far I’ve come with my skiing in less than 3 years, but more so, at the confidence I’ve developed to just show up.



 

bailey + eric

Advice For Girls




Eric and I recently had the opportunity to watch a screening of the film Advice for Girls, followed by a local panel of women athletes sharing their experiences as women in the outdoors.


A large theme of the night was to just show up. So many of my favorite activities, mountain biking, skate skiing, alpine skiing, sea kayaking, canoe-camping, are intimidating to learn and, when you are a beginner, feel like they are dominated by large, athletic, strong, fast, men.


I have spent a lot of time feeling like I was in the way. Like I was blocking the trail. Like I wasn’t good enough because I couldn’t keep pace or get over a technical feature or go quite as far.


But then I would see another female out on the trail – doing the thing that I wanted to do! And I would try again. Pedal faster. Stand back up after falling. Show up, again, and again, and again. And every time I would show up, I got better, and I saw more and more women out on the trails. Without speaking, without even knowing each other's names, we formed a team. Together, we said, we belong here.


I felt emotional skiing in the woods yesterday – thinking of how many times I have had to overcome the instinct to not show up. To go home so I wouldn’t be the slowest one there.


But also so grateful for all the women who came before me, who showed up when there were even fewer women on the trails. The ones who showed me that I can do it, because they did. And here I am – doing it!


Now, I want to show other women and newbies that they can do it, too. They can ride, ski, run, paddle, move, and take up space at whatever skill level they are currently, and their place on the trail is just as valuable as anyone else’s.




 

the closer What We're Thinking About.



Movement analysis coming up!

Takk

Jenn + Kevin





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