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Cross Country Skiing is a great way of staying fit for other sports.

Jim Wilkinson, a guest of Tracks and Trails, talks about how cross country has made an impression on him, and his training as a rower. He joined us last winter for our Italian Ski Break, and then a few weeks later for our Haute Savoie Ski Safari, making an impressive progression from 'beginner' to confident 'intermediate'.

"My passion, my sport, is rowing. I’ve always loved water sports, swimming, windsurfing but always rowing. There is so much technical stuff to master and then there’s the satisfaction of all the effort too. There’s always something to perfect. A couple of years ago a friend suggested we try cross-country skiing and last year I had some spare holiday so booked on one of the Italian Ski Weekends. Oh boy was I hooked! I booked a second, longer trip with Tracks and Trails returning to the frozen water just a couple of weeks later.

What gripped me, apart from the amazing scenery, get company, excellent tuition, was the similarity with my passion sport. So many of the coaching phrases used by Lindsay and Julia could have been aimed at a crew. In last month’s issue of British Rowing’s magazine there was an article about cross training - lo and behold cross country skiing was featured.

Just like rowing novice I started off using a lot of effort and no technique. I had to work hard to keep up with the group. Getting to grips with the drive, just like the rowing 'catch', started to tip the balance from grunt to grace; well, in my mind at least. I’m back for more this year, so much to learn and an awesome workout!

I challenge you to try to keep up with Lindsay and Julia; as they cover far more distance each day skipping from the head of the spread out group to the tail and back again.

If you want a balance and core workout in a different environment I heartily recommend cross country skiing - but only with Tracks and Trails!

James Wilkinson, Coach and Captain of Pengwern Boat Club, Shrewsbury, Shropshire"

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