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In the shadows

By CHRISTIAN KNIGHT

News staff writer

March 29, 2006

Cross-country skiing will never sell a Nissan Xterra or a can of Mountain Dew as effectively as its more extreme counterparts.

As a marketing tool, it’s sort of stuck on the same B roll of film that road bikers and downriver canoeists have had to get used to.

It just doesn’t look thrilling enough on a 26-inch screen.

But cross-country skiing is thrilling and it does have a few distinct advantages over its more gradient-inclined crossover sports:

You can’t take your dog with you down a steep powder meadow as easily as you can on a cross-country ski trail.

The sport is simple enough for first-timers to do without cussing. And technical enough to challenge longtime experts.

A pair of alpine skis or a snowboard won’t help you explore miles and miles of flat and ascending terrain as enjoyably as a pair of cross-country skis will.

And let’s face it: sweat rarely feels better than that perspired in spite of the clear, crisp 20-degree-weather.

Perhaps because of these reasons, this very old mode of winter travel continues to thrive. And one of the most popular places in Oregon to do it is along Highway 35.

Within a 30- to 45-minute drive, you can climb out your car seat and into terrain that varies from open glades to thick forests and snow-filled creekbeds. You can gaze into Mount Hood’s shoulders as you put miles and miles of trail behind you.

On the following page, we have included some of the best cross-country ski trails in Hood River County. Categories are ranked from 1 to 5, with 1 representing the least and 5 representing the extreme. Please turn to Page B2 for a description of these trails.

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