Cross country skiing is a strenuous sport, and sometimes it is not an enjoyable experience if you have bad knees or are facing a choice between a fast downhill run and a long uphill slog.
But if you can stay on your feet, cross country skiing can be rewarding even for skiers of the middle age and older variety.
My favorite place to ski is Maine, the nation’s last northern colony, nicknamed the Pine Tree State because of its tall trees. Maine’s pristine winter wonderland stretches for miles and features as much unspoiled wilderness as you could wish for, and it is, for almost anyone who wants to do it, entirely doable by those who are reasonably fit.
In my travels around the world in search of good and interesting eating, one of the best experiences I’ve had has been visiting a restaurant called Malavasca (“toe-hat” in Spanish) in a small village called Augusta, which is fairly close to where I live now in King of Prussia, Pa. The cuisine and menu is a triumph of sustainable and local agriculture — tandoori shrimp, beef from the hills of Maine — with a very fine lamb chop, which I ate at Malavasca, celebrated in this restaurant section of the book after I used my recent move to a warmer climate as an excuse to do a bit of traveling to our friends in Maine, and to an unspoiled place close to where I grew up in Massachusetts.
But as the line to serve at Malavasca (we’re at the back) attests, cross country skiing is the best way to see Maine. For many people of any age, this is the best skiing experience they will have, and at an exhilarating price: a flat rate of $12. The charge can add up, but I’ve seen guides who are knowledgeable enough to make a trip worthwhile for anyone who can bring a couple of friends.