Looking to get an early lead on your Valentine’s day weekend? UNI’s Outdoor Recreation Center will be hosting a Valentine’s-themed cross country skiing event on Feb. 13 at 5 p.m.. Attendees will meet in the outdoor recreation office WRC 174 and head out to the trails shortly after.
“It’s nice to be out of your comfort zone with someone you care about,” said Nicholas Chell, graduate assistant at UNI Outdoors. “Struggling together can kind of make it fun. I think it would be a great way to start the Valentine’s weekend.”
The event is free to the public. Everyone is welcome, regardless if alone, with a friend or on a date. Skis, boots and headlamps will be provided by staff members. Attendees are encouraged to arrive 10-15 minutes early.
Skiers will break into groups and loop around the pond near the WRC and through the woods before making their way back. There will be red luminaries lighting the entire route. Coordinators will be spread throughout the trail to guide you along the way, provide assistance and hand out candy.
Combating the cold February weather can sometimes be difficult. On top of attendees dressing for the cold, staff members will provide hot chocolate and marshmallows once they have finished the trail and made their way back to the WRC.
The Outdoor Recreation center hosts cross country ski nights every Tuesday night from Jan. 28–Feb. 25. These events take you through the same trail as the Valentine’s event. Unlike the Valentine’s event, these ski nights cost $5.
“We try to do it every year,” Chell said. “The hardest part is the weather can be dicey, sometimes a little warm. Sometimes it’s too cold. More often than not the snow is melted. This year there’s snow on the ground and it will be a little chilly. It’s an ideal condition.”
Cross country skiing is not the same as traditional downhill skiing most people are familiar with. Cross country skiers mainly rely on their own strength and momentum to traverse many different forms of terrain. Cross country skis are attached to the skier’s boots only at the toes, while the heel is free to move away, allowing for longer strides.