Winter wonderland...

Driving home this afternoon from the Cascade mountains, listening to the radio, I was reminded that the closing ceremonies of the Winter Olympics will take place tonight. Then, I heard a clip of a little rant that Jerry Seinfeld did about winning a silver medal...calling the winner of that medal "the number one loser"....really?!!  Don't get me wrong...I find Jerry and his humor pretty funny most of the time, but I had a little trouble with this one. I think it is such an amazing honor to even qualify for and be chosen to represent your country on the Olympic team...medal or no medal. 

I love watching the winter Olympics! Having spent a considerable amount of time over the years watching snowboard competitions(my son) and downhill ski racing(his girlfriend) at Stevens Pass, I know a little bit about all the things that come into play for the competitors...the condition of the snow and weather, the condition of their equipment, how they slept last night, what they ate that day, who their competition is, the level of coaching they've experienced, and then...their nerves and state of mind as they start the competition. Nope, I have never competed in any of these myself...just dabbled a bit in ice skating growing up, then some downhill and cross country skiing. I've dabbled enough to get a tiny glimpse at how difficult it is and the time commitment involved (not to mention financial commitment!) to even qualify for the Olympic tryouts. And, the closest I will probably ever get to a luge run is the drive across Stevens pass in my car! 

One of the things I love about the winter Olympics is watching the competitors from my "homeland," Norway. I have to admit...sometimes I'm torn about who to cheer for, the Americans or Norwegians. I just looked at the medal count and Norway is in second place for the gold medal count, behind Russia. When you consider the size of Norway and that they sent 118 competitors, while Russia sent 233, their gold medal count is quite impressive! Of course, I am happy that the U.S. came in second in the overall medal count, and fourth in number of golds too. And then I just have to give a shout out to the Netherlands, in fifth place in golds and overall, with only 41 competitors...amazing! I'm always a little sad when the Olympics come to an end.

     Norwegian Olympic team at Opening ceremonies

     Norwegian Olympic team at Opening ceremonies

Perhaps inspired by the Olympics, or simply just the amount of snow in Plain, WA, I decided to drag out my old cross country skis this past weekend. My skis are probably at least 20 years old but they still, why not? I actually learned how to cross country ski during a January interim term in college in Minnesota....a great way to learn the sport! I used to go cross country skiing while we lived in Anchorage and also have skied some trails around Winthrop, WA and Whistler, B.C., but haven't done it for years. Just wanting to get some exercise and enjoy the snow, I put my boots and skis on and simply trucked around our property in Plain. The snow was pretty frozen and I had no groomed tracks to follow so I'm sure it was a pathetic thing to watch. My husband did come out to take my picture and just had a little smile (smirk?) on his face. But hey, at least I was glad to be outdoors and got a pretty good little workout!

I have to admit I'm tempted sometimes, due to my pathetic ability, to give up skiing, both downhill and cross country,  and just become a "lodge bunny." Yet, I'm always so invigorated when I do ski and besides...I no longer look like much a "bunny" of any sort! If your skill level is anything close to mine, can I just encourage you to keep at long as you can? That lovely white snow...the cold crisp air...and the shush, shush, shush of your skis...a little muscle burn later... make it all worth it.