There were two reasons for my avoidance of downhill. First, I felt like I already had an adequate list of hobbies. Secondly, I did not want to put up the money for new equipment for another sport; however, I have always been curious to try it. I always wondered if cross-country ski skills would easily transfer over to alpine.

I was able to pick up the sport pretty easily thanks to the strength and balance I have built up in my legs from many cross-country ski outings this year. Although I am not an expert, I was able to move from beginner to novice and maybe even slight intermediate with only a few spills in just two days. The experience was incredible, and I definitely plan to ski downhill again. Salt Lake City, Utah and the Wasatch Mountains was an incredible place to have my virgin run on mountain slopes.

What this means for readers is that I intend to expand the range of this column to include downhill skiing. Just like I have done in the past for hiking, backpacking, canoeing and cross-country skiing, I will find places to go in the Chicago area and beyond and try to give readers a feel for what the activity and the destination is like.

Nordic aficionados that follow this column, do not worry. This does not mean I will abandon cross-country skiing. So many times people will abandon the perceived boring cross-country skiing for the sexier alpine, but I will not do this. As a matter of fact, I spent one of my days in Utah skiing the Nordic Trails at Solitude Ski Resort.

Not only do I have plans to keep my primary focus on cross-country skiing next winter, but I have plans to expand. I will participate in the American Birkebeiner in Hayward, Wisconsin next year after a year’s hiatus. I also am going to start a cross-country ski club in the metro Chicago area next winter. I am already looking forward to next winter although I have not given up on skiing this winter. As soon as this article is published I am heading north to Wisconsin for a day of cross-country skiing.