Free Cross-Country skiing (& Snowshoeing) on Long Island; and used skis found for sale!


Welcome to the 2020 - 2021 ski season! (This page replaces the monthly column I used to write for the Long Island Cross Country Ski Club, then run by Buzz Gaitta, when I was a younger member years ago at the Plainview - Old Bethpage public library.)
The 1st December snowfall made up for last year's
"winter that never was!"

Thursday Mar 4, 2021,
  (This check mark 's color indicates if we will ski today.)
Green   = yes,
yellow = We don't know,
and red   = no.)
We have only a few isolated patches of old snow. Some days I may not be skiing but you can borrow equipment and go on your own. Sunday's Skiing 2 weeks ago was nothing short of fantastic! On a moment's notice, 7 of us of all ages got out on skis and invaded a local park. It was mostly flat level snow, perfect for the beginners among us. Some of us tried a small hill and became gold medal Olympians! We carefully followed the Covid 19 precautions. At every event we will wear face masks and stay at least 6' apart while outside.



Thursday, Dec. 24 2020 - We will NOT SKI TODAY OR TOMORROW. Skiing conditions for the Huntington/Northport area: Very few patches of skiable icy snow left; no new snow, not great for skiing, melting rapidly as temperatures soar to near 60°. Heavy rain and powerful wind gusts tonight will wash away most of the old snow. [Weather alert - check flashlights, generators and food supplies: widespread power outages expected in storm tonight.]  Temperatures will drop tomorrow through Sunday, with flurries possible, adding about an inch in top of the bare grass. (I call this light snow "maintenance snow" !)  Next time we get snow, if you want to ski, call us at (631) 486-4818. We have a few dozen skis and boots and poles to borrow!
   HOWEVER... If you have your OWN skis, get them ready now for a great winter of peak performance. If you don't have skis but would like to buy used equipment, usually for less than $15, I'll list skis here if I see them for sale:

Any used skis  found for sale at the moment: they would be posted below in green. Used ski BOOTS are very hard to find.

No skis currently seen at Island Thrift on Route 110 in Huntington Station or other large thrift shops. (In this store, look in the back  of the store to the left of the shoe shelves. They would be on the floor near the sports equipment.
(If this store is close to you, check it frequently. Very often they have decent used skis. Be sure to check what kind of bindings they have - or even if they have NO bindings - so you know if your ski boots will work with them. Many of the larger thrift shops like Savers, Unique, Island Thrift have a few pairs frequently!)

If you have your OWN skis, this is a good time to get them ready for peak performance. Here's how:

I'm old enough (read 'experienced' LOL)  to remember the little foil cans of SWIX ski GLIDE wax, (resembling 'glue sticks') sold in ski shops 40 years ago in the 1970's and '80's. (Damn how time flies!! ) There were two distinctly different kinds of ski wax; a hard GLIDE wax, and a soft sticky GRIP wax.  And to help competition skiers perform at their best, and complicate things further for the rest of us, both kinds of wax came in many different special formulations for specific snow temperatures! (But I found one wax that worked fairly well in most Long Island snow conditions.) For skiing on the trail, you pulled off the plastic cap and peeled the foil to expose the hard GLIDE wax, which you rubbed on the tips and tails of the ski bottom, avoiding the midsection where your weight makes the skis bend and grip when climbing. You then polished the wax with a cork (from a wine bottle you emptied with friends!)  Now your skis were ready to outperform everything made recently of plastic or fiberglass! For skiing on fresh new snow, or on old icy snow, you'd trek down to the same ski shop and buy what resembled toothpaste tubes of soft, sticky GRIP wax. If you squeeze a small amount out of the tube, and use the plastic tool it came with to spread the sticky stuff on the middle grip area of the skis' bottoms, (and that tool helped you to avoid getting it in the center groove), then set the skis outside for the room-temperature wax to chill for a few minutes, you had pretty good grip for climbing hills, as the sharp snow crystals dug into the soft wax. This also enabled some of us X-C skiers to ski in icy conditions! Without this special wax, don't even attempt it because you'll fall on hard ice and may get hurt.   If you can't hop in your time machine and go back about 40 years, you can substitute candle wax for the SWIX ski GLIDE wax cans. I have not found a modern equivalent of the tubes of soft sticky GRIP wax. On warmer days when the snow is soft and damp, you can ski if you rub a little candle wax on the bottom of the front and back ends of the skis, starting from each end to about 12". Then polish it shiny with a cork. This will prevent the damp snow from 'sticking' to the bottom of the skis (and slowing you down), so you slide easily. Don't wax the middle where the rough grip surface is.  Or you can spray the bottoms with silicone spray, which repels water and lets the skis glide faster.

All of this preparation is no longer necessary with the "waxless" plastic skis that came out in the late '70's. But I include it here for those who have ancient wooden skis (which WAY-OUTPERFORM today's plastic bottoms when it comes to speed and springy bounce, but require a bit of work to really perform better than today's skis.) I was a member of the LI Cross-country ski club back then, but even then  I presented what was probably the last ski-waxing workshop in the Plainview public library! Due to the Covid19 pandemic, the club currently has virtual meetings on Zoom. Their website is https://liccsc.org  . They have a list on
 their site of sporting goods stores that may have cross-country skis.

If you find deep gouges in the bottom of plastic-bottom skis, (usually caused by going over rocks or bare pavement) fill them with p-tex plastic, which is what hot glue guns use. Draw a thick line of hot glue right over the scratch, then use a sharp blade to trim off the excess plastic so it's level with the rest of the ski bottom.
If you are the lucky owner of old wooden skis, (I say 'lucky' because you can't beat the extra-springy bounce of a wooden ski; plastic skis come nowhere near as close to this action!), there is a little more work to do to make these go great. Try to find "Pine Tar", an 'ancient' black, sticky waterproofing compound used on wooden skis before plastic skis came out. It usually comes in a can that looks like a small paint can. It might be in a hardware or outdoors store. Clean the bottoms of the skis. Then ooze out a little pine tar from the can onto the ski bottom. Spread it evenly with an old rag. This can be a very messy job, but it's worth it. Now get a hand-held electric hair blow dryer, (or a gas torch as it was done way back in the day!) Hold it close to the tar, heat the tar, and when the tar starts to bubble, rub it hard with the rag. This will force the tar down into the wood bottom, making it waterproof. After you finish both skis, let them cool. Then wax them the same way you waxed the newer plastic-bottom skis. Now go out skiing and dare your friends to keep up with you!
You can make your ski boots last longer by spraying the leather parts with a waterproofing chemical sold in camping stores. This will keep your feet dryer and warmer!

  Here's a gadget to let us know about the current weather. But the temperature is wrong. The people who operate it are working on this.

 

WHAT WE DO: I will teach anyone who wants to learn. If you can walk, you can do this. We will teach how to walk, climb a small hill, turn, and stop. We will start on smooth level snow - no hills, and 'graduate' to easy rolling landscapes with beautiful views. No rush - this is not racing, but it is great exercise, so you might want to increase your physical activity over the next 2 days so you're ready to really enjoy the fun. I also will teach anyone who wants to learn how to go faster!
Feel free to invite other friends - I have about 15 pairs of skis you can borrow.
Call 631-664-0515 or 631-486-4818. We generally need about 4" of snow to ski.  I'll update this page around noon on days (weekdays included) where there is enough snow, with 'WE WILL' or 'WE WILL NOT be skiing today'.
 
 If you WANT to be emailed when we ski, please email me at woodge1@hotmail.com and I'll put you on our list!  However if you are looking for used ski equipment, check in here daily as I will post recent 'finds' above.

WHAT TO WEAR FOR SKIING: DRESS LIGHT, because when you are active you generate a lot of body heat. This makes it feel like it's warm out! Go through your closet to pick out comfy clothes - dress in light, removable layers of acrylic, poly fleece and/or wool (DON'T wear jeans or anything with cotton in it, as cotton wicks up water and keeps it close to your skin, causing a chill that will ruin your day.)
Wear a zippered nylon shell light jacket as your last outer layer to shed snow and wind. (zippered because you'll want to open it partially while skiing - it's amazing how warm you get when cross country skiing.)
I have special cross-country ski shoes with 3 holes in the toe that fit on the 3 metal pins on the bindings of the older skis that we use, but you might also want to bring a pair of hiking boots if you have them, in case I don't have your exact shoe size and we need to fall back on the really ancient skis with cable bindings that fasten to the groove around the heel of hiking boots for rugged back-country skiing.

We would ski for just an hour or so the first time, as a starter.
Future ski events can be longer.
Please call 631-486-4818 with your height & shoe size if you need skis. Tell your  friends to read this, and RSVP with their height & shoe sizes also. I have a variety of skis and shoe sizes. The amount of snow and conditions each area gets will determine which trails we would ski on, and is an indicator of how much the current climate crisis is affecting us.

It is often difficult to find cross country ski equipment in retail stores here on LI, because typically we get less snow. and less often. Occasionally I come across quality used cross country skis for sale in thrift shops or garage sales at very reasonable prices. I will include that here. You may also find them on listings such as Craigslist, Freecycle, or many of the bidding sites.

We don't know exactly what days we will be skiing again, but I'll be staying in touch with you here on the possibilities of skiing.

SCIENCE: The weather has been strangely unpredictable; very warm, then very cold, because of the ongoing climate crisis. Getting 5" of snow in the middle of November here on LI 2 years ago is very strange - and that's the result of climate change. A normal autumn rainstorm developed into a strong nor 'easter because of the extra energy trapped in our atmosphere by the 'greenhouse' effect caused by excess carbon dioxide emitted from burning fossil materials as 'fuel'. It became strong enough to pull cold air down here from way up north, changing the rain into snow. Last February 2018 was the WARMEST FEBRUARY EVER ON RECORD. (Every year we are told 'this was the warmest year ever' ... so doesn't that say something about the ongoing effects of climate change?) Many people who do not understand the science behind the crisis "enjoy" the occasional 'springlike warm weather', and are very frustrated by the bitter cold Arctic-like weather. But we must realize this is not normal. It is because huge storms are being overloaded with extra atmospheric energy from the greenhouse effect. They are powerfully pulling up abnormal amounts of heat, from down South, and abnormally cold temperatures from the Arctic, to our Northeast and even further south where it DOESN'T BELONG! This is why Texas and much of the midwest is currently struggling with a major ecological disaster causing bitter cold, flooded homes with no heat causing frozen broken water pipes, power outages and low water pressure that makes firefighting very difficult, and hospitals without clean water, Covid 19 vaccines getting to no one because the trucks and planes can't travel with icy roads and airports, empty shelves in supermarkets and people dying from hypothermia chilling.  Because of this, there will be more early snow and extreme cold; then extreme warmth and heavy flooding rain; then cold.... This is a clear warning signal of the climate crisis. This is all being caused by burning fossils materials (coal, oil, gas) as "fuel", and releasing enormous volumes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.  I'm saying this because I'm speaking out about the environmental CRISIS we are in. Elsewhere it is producing  droughts causing wildfires in California and Australia, snow in Greece and Florida and very heavy flooding rains for days on end, and a new word in the forecasters' vocabulary this year - "bombcyclone" - when a small storm system from the west drifts offshore and picks up tremendous amounts of warmth and moisture over the ocean, and literally 'explodes' into a major blizzard.
If you are interested in getting involved in this effort, going to public programs, creating art, education projects, or just meeting new friends concerned about climate change, click here for my FaceBook site: https://www.facebook.com/Street-Chalking-Art-Fighting-Climate-Change-2023788031185426/

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