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Home > Magazine > Skis > Gotta Do Better: the Picnic Revolution

Gotta Do Better: the Picnic Revolution
February 15, 2016

I'm not doing so well at my Ski Party Revolution.

My goal is to step up the social diversity and viability of XC skiing. Right now there's a divide between real life social modes and the Ski Mode.

Real people like to have fun and party and enjoy tasty snacks and bevs. Skiers like to ski and do workouts. Skiers are in decline. I figure to grow skiing we gotta play up the fun. But I'm striking out.

I've been hauling a full picnic around with me at my social ski outings this season. I lay it out on a picnic table near a bonfire. But that's as far as it gets.

Stan had his big Fire'n'Ice Ski Party Relay recently where everybody was rockin' the bonfire snacks hard. The fun people show up. About 30 or 40 of em so far, even in sketchy conditions.

I'm trying to recruit.

I'm teaching skiing but I'm also teaching culture. Ha. Nobody can teach culture. It just is. Or isn't.

I'm going to keep trying.

The thing is, what ya do is go skiing. For awhile. Then you stop and hang out and have something to drink and eat. Something good and tasty.

I've been laying out smoked fish, cream-cheese, stone crackers, apple juice, white wine, soppresatta cured meat, stinky cheese, beer, chocolate, olives, mix-nuts, hot spiced wine, hot chocolate, oranges, apples. ...It's a charcuterie thing. Just right. Deluxe. Fun people like good food.

Fresh air kicks up the appetite. Cold sun outside makes apple juice and oranges taste great.

You get some chunks of ensolite pad to sit on. Bring a few extra jackets!

Music, a boombox, iPod.

It's fun to locate the party near a place where you can do horse-around skiing, shorty laps, stunts, here hold my beer, watch this.

...My very first ski race was the White Pine Stampede 20km way back in, um, maybe 1980. I missed the start and was gliding along, passing people for an hour when I crossed a bridge over a trout stream. It was sunny out, the snow sparkled. The water looked so good and cheery and crystal clear. Then I encountered the first food station in my life. I'd never done a 10k or anything at all before. Certainly no event in winter, on a 20degF day. I glided up and saw the golden apple juice in clear cups. I saw orange slices. I drank it. I ate em. It all tasted really good. Better than food had tasted before. It was like I got a life infusion. Then I skied on. But that feed station was a big part of that day.

When you just ski and ski and only ski and only jones on the endorphin high then you're at risk of becoming boring and dull. The flat expression. Or maybe just the giddy look. You need some good snacks to put you back in touch. You can still be soaring on your great good fortune to be alive and outside on a day like today with such fun friends. But you should stop a bit.

Like, heart-rate-monitors and camelbaks are great things, but it seems like there's more room in the world for wineskins. I mean, there are more Type B people than Type A's, aren't there. Bring back the Bota Bag! The hippies of the 60's and 70's used to ski with bota bags and wine or schnapps. That's when the USA had A MILLION SKIERS. The ski boom. It coincided with people just playing in the woods. Young boys and girls. It's what young people did. (Like, they really did sell a million XC skis a year then. Now it's like 10,000. Big change!)

Anyway, I've been bringing out the cured meat and smoked fish enough, and things just get too busy and nobody wants to stop that the darn stuff finally just spoiled and I threw it out yesterday.

But I'll buy more. Martha is against me wasting food and money. But it's not a waste. It's an investment. An attempt. An effort toward a cause. We'll get there! I'll figure it out. I need to make people have fun. We have to stop lessons in the middle. People need to kick back. They may not think they're overloading, but they are. When we finally get there, I want to be ready!


Fire'n'Ice ski party picnic table. A lotta fun skiing needs a lotta fun snackage.


Bring back the bota bag!


Ski a lot, eat a lot.

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