For my entire life I have been a downhill skiier. Not that I have been skiing much. It is quite possible that I haven't been on skiis since the 1990s, or six years ago. The reality is that once Daddy's generosity ran dry in the skiing department, I was on my own, and, at least in the US, skiing is a very expensive hobby to have. So I haven't been on skiis for awhile and I do feel that I have been missing part of myself.
When you go downhill, it's a bit chaotic. At first you realize that you could crash into a tree ala Sonny Bono and die, but soon you rationalize away these legitimate fears and spend your days turning your leg muscle to butter as you propel down the mountain side, stopping at moments to refill on coffee and chili in ski lodges which, outside of a resort, would be humid, dingy places, but at a ski resort have the best food ever made.
Cross country skiing on the other hand seemed like a sport for truly confused. Here was downhill skiing minus the thrill of danger with 10 times the amount of work. I recall skiing with a friend's parents about 10 years ago, and they were cross country skiiers, ie. chickens in my book.
Now it appears that my youthful vigor may be tiring. Alas I cannot afford downhill, but I want to get back to sliding around and exploring nature via ski. I also want to have the opportunity to dress as a skiier, wearing goggles, therefore greatly enhancing my coolness.
So I have decided that once we get back to Estonia, cross country skiing should be in my cards, as they have no mountains, and I have no money. The place to cross country ski in Estonia is Otepää. This is the small area on Estonia's topographical map that actually has hills, rather than bogs and fields. Politically, Otepää is in the nether region of Valgamaa, which I am sure is nice, but I haven't been to, and seems to lack the same immediate charm as Tartumaa, Hiiumaa, Võrumaa, etc.
The goal is to get me, preferably with family, on skiis, on a track, in Otepää for as little money as possible with a camera nearby at all times to record the fact that I am now starting my cross country skiing career. I like the idea of using skiis all the time too. Like to get the mail, go to the laundromat, buy groceries, that kind of thing.
Just so you know, I have always been nuts. My goal after watching the 1994 Lillehammer Olympics was to become a member of the US Olympic Luge Team. In fact they were recruiting at that time, with a number you could call, 1-800-USA-LUGE. They were doing this because our Luge team sucked so bad. I even tried "training" for the luge, by greasing the bottom of my sleigh. But I wasn't very good at it. Plus even at the age of 15, I was over 6 feet tall, and most Lugers are the Winter sports equivalent of jockeys. They want little round cannonballs not gangly oak trees on their Luge courses. Anyway, that dream died, and there was no wild night of drinking saki at the Olympic village in Nagano, Japan in 1998. But I think cross country is more doable. Don't you agree?