Tucked back into the mountain range right behind our little town are miles upon miles of groomed Nordic trails, just waiting to be skied across. Yes, you go. All five of you over that white, white snow under a sunny winter sky. And when you’ve gone a fair bit - falling, getting up, learning - there, at the edge of a clearing, is a warming hut stocked with firewood, newspaper, matches; with benches and stumps to sit upon.
Rest. And spoon hot soup from the thermos. Eat while you watch the flames dance and your clothes steam dry. Rest your head against the rough plank wall and slide your eyelids closed.
More skiers come, popping out of the trees on the far side of the meadow, gliding toward the warm. Say hi and make room by the fire.
Their cheeks are nipped red and their breath puffs cold as they leave the skis out front and step inside. Their clothes start steaming, too.
There’s movement and shuffling about, low murmurs of conversation. But mostly it’s quiet; we’re quiet.
Soon, it’s time for us. Shadows are thinning out and stretching long. We know there are just two more steep hills to climb, then it’s downhill from there.
We snap into skis, grab the poles, and head across the clearing. Down the Nordic trail, soon swallowed by winter woods.