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Corn Field Skiing

by Andrew Johnson

I married a farm girl from northern Illinois. Winter trips to visit her family used to mean a slight gap in my training. I always figured there was no place to ski so I would risk life and limb by trying to run on the winding country roads frequented by grain trucks, pickup trucks, and farm implements traveling at unusually high speeds. This was all before I discovered the joys of corn field skiing. It turns out that a corn field is an ideal place to train!

me in the midst of a great corn ski workout!

One thing I love about skiing in a corn filed is you won't find any pesky downhills to cheat on. There are no free rides here! This country is flat as the base of a freshly ground ski. You need to work for every inch of forward motion. Speaking of inches, when you're in a corn field one inch looks pretty much like the next. Snow, cornstalk, snow, cornstalk, snow, cornstalk as far as the eye can see. There's no scenery to mess up your concentration! You know exactly what's around that next bend because you've been staring at it for the last 20 minutes.

Corn field skiing requires a pair of skis you don't care too much about. The notion that farm fields are free of rocks is false. That ad where the farmer gets down on one knee and scoops up a hand full of soft black dirt? Fake, it's all fake. The rocks are out there and you will find them or they will find you. No matter how deep the snow is there always seems to be a fair amount of cornstalk material around. Who could have predicted that? It used to concern me somewhat when I would look down to find my kick zone looking like the inside of a combine. Recently I've discovered that the cornstalks give excellent kick so now I leave them in place. I'm thinking about bringing some back with me to apply to future wax jobs. (I'll be selling them on this site if anyone is interested.)

[Insert any number of horrible puns about corn snow here. I'm already treading on thin ice and to commit such an act would surely put me over into the abyss.]

Something about the atmosphere of a corn field reminds me of a World Cup race. Maybe it's the bits of grass caught on the barbed wire fence that blow in the wind like so many colorful pennants. It could also be the broken off corn stalks that stick out of the snow in perfect rows. They remind me of the evergreen tips course managers stick in the snow to divide the finish area into lanes. You just have to ignore the crazy looks from the locals and you'd swear they were cheering for you. Who needs Oberhof when you've got northern Illinois?

So grab your back country skis and make friends with the first farmer you see...just don't wear your spandex while doing so, they may get the wrong idea.

Now, if only I could find some John Deer skis...

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