Outdoor enthusiasts find joy in snow sports
Tim Paschke of Craig has been cross-country skiing for 35 years, and he still spends as much time outside in the winter as he can.
“(Skiing) takes me places I couldn’t get to normally,” Paschke said. “I like the solitude. I like the exercise.”
He is one of many local residents who like to get out of their houses and into the snow. From figure skating to snowmobiling, Craig residents like to stay active in the winter.
Andre Ellen is one of those people. He played hockey for 58 years, but now his knees keep him out of the rink.
“I can’t skate anymore, so I miss the ice,” he said.
He learned how to skate on ponds in Long Island. He said exercising in the winter months kept him young.
Chris Anthony, owner of Instant Replay Sports, said hockey equipment is by far the biggest seller of the gear she offers. Her two sons played hockey, so she understands why it’s so popular.
“Once you’ve been bit by the hockey bug, you’re done,” Anthony said.
Paschke said snow sports are available to people of all experience levels, and many are easy to learn.
He is an instructor at the Steamboat Ski Touring Center, where he teaches beginners to ski in a short period of time. Even with little training, newcomers can take up snowshoeing or cross-country skiing.
Brenda McKey is also an experienced cross-country skier and offers youth courses through Recreational After-school Doorway and adult trips she donates to The Memorial Hospital fundraisers.
“If you can walk, you can cross-country ski,” McKey said.
She most enjoys going out to Yampa Valley Golf Course at dusk.
“I’ll ski into the sun setting and then turn around and ski into the moon rising,” she said. “It’s amazing.”
That’s one of the benefits of winter sports, she said. These activities are available at minimal expense and can be done in any number of areas in or near Craig, Paschke said.
The Craig Ski Club, offered through Craig Parks and Recreation, takes local outdoors enthusiasts of all ages to Steamboat Springs throughout the season for ski days.
Paschke said there are alternatives to traditional or classic cross-country skiing. He also enjoys backcountry and skate or freestyle skiing.
The various forms require different equipment and provide distinct benefits.
“I think any kind of skiing is the most healthful sport you can do, especially in the winter,” Paschke said.
He especially enjoys skate skiing, which uses narrower skis, taller poles and flexible boots. Paschke said this allows for a faster sport that’s more aerobic.
Paschke said the joy of winter sports is being outside, either alone or with friends, and taking in the rhythmic action of the activities.
He recommends people leave their houses and try something new this season.
“A lot of people don’t like winter,” Paschke said. “This is something you can do to get out and enjoy the outdoors.”
Michelle Perry can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 209, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Nearly all of Craig Parks and Recreation Director Ryan Dennison’s tenure with the department has been under the shadow of the pandemic.