Old Farts should be lovin' TRAIL SKIING!
January 13, 2016
Here's an angle: As the main cohort of outdoor enthusiasts (Boomers) ages, their pure-power diminishes, but they have skills acquired from vast experience. I note that they would have relatively greater success and finish higher up in the standings if they participated in sports and events that cater to their strengths. So that TRAIL SKIING which rewards ski-handling and technique and pacing should be a big favorite among them!
Groomed highway-type ski-skating courses reward POWER more than anything.
Here's another way to see it: Cyclocross is becoming very popular among riders with more skill than power. Success in CX is not determined by whether you can hang in the draft of the leaders. Trail skiing popularity should be working the same way.
And yet another angle: Other values often become more important to people as they age or get experience in a sport. Cyclocross is known for its diverse party style. And for its off-bike snacks and craft beverages. It is NOT a "gel" sport! In XC skiing, I would think that over time folks would come to enjoy quality trailside picnics and refreshing swigs from a bota-bag more than the pure numbers on the heart-rate monitor -- which tend to be displaying in steep decline from year to year.
At the SAME TIME: Cyclocross and Nordic skiing are still attracting a LOT of today's young generation. These sports DO reward huge explosions of raw power. And acrobatic skill is not uncommon among youth.
A further wrinkle might be that Boomers can afford to buy speed in both biking and skiing. Also they have spare time for waxing. So $/time is rewarded more in groomed course racing than in Trail Skiing at this point.
Some might say that groomed courses are safer for geriatric skiers than wild scenic trails. What they don't appreciate is that while they were spending decades and thousands on rolling, stone grinding, and respirators for their carcinogenic fluorocarbon base treatments, the ski world created the mountain bike of skis! New trail skiing equipment is easier to control and more stable and fun than ever before! They are perhaps three times more so than the previous generation of gear. A BC binding with a cuff boot in a midlength ski of healthy width can calmly and easily handle most any technical hiking trail! Safety first indeed, and fun too! The scene absolutely has to get past calling this new gear "beginner." It has to get past calling groomed-track skis and techniques the only elite kind. Trail skiing doubles the size of the Nordic world!… Especially for older more experienced skiers.
OK, I admit that today's XC scene is appealing to a few Type A's among 40+ well-heeled dudes. They got a lock on it. Fussy benchwork plus safe, rarified outdoor technique. ...But this is a small cohort!
The potential is MORE relevance for ALL AGE GROUPS and diversity in sports like TRAIL SKIING and CX!
...WildXC and CX both rule!!!