Achievement Unlocked: Ski-Commute

The Greater Toronto Area was hit with a snowstorm the night of December 26th.  Now, I've biked to work, and I've run to work, and I've even in-line skated to work.  The white whale of active living commutes for me though, has been the idea of cross-country skiing to work.  It would take a lot of special circumstances, most importantly a fresh snowfall.  I figured it was still holiday time and the office would be less than bustling so those circumstances were going to line up perfectly today...

Well, not quite perfectly.  I had brought my laptop home for the holidays.  Luckily, I brought it in a backpack rather than the typical shoulder bag laptops come in, so I could carry it, if I was willing to haul the extra 10lbs or so.  I also had to shovel the driveway before leaving (I got some help from Shark Boy).  Life (especially as a family man) has taught me that things are never perfect, and unless there's a serious, serious obstacle -

if you want to do something, the time is now.

Going to cross at item off my #BucketList today... Can you guess? #fitfluential
— Axel Kussmann (@apkussma) December 27, 2012

I couldn't resist the tease...

So, though I got a late start after my wife took Shark Boy to daycare (with the Lightning Kid along for the ride), I got suited up to go.  I couldn't find my Garmin heart rate monitor, so I just used Endomondo to track the trip.  I also decided to live tweet the whole thing.
OK... Ladies & Gentlemen, boys & girls of all ages, coming to you live via Twitter... The #SkiCommute!
— Axel Kussmann (@apkussma) December 27, 2012

Backpack (with laptop) #SkiCommute
— Axel Kussmann (@apkussma) December 27, 2012

#SkiCommute Facemask
— Axel Kussmann (@apkussma) December 27, 2012

Hoorag on display

#SkiCommute skis
— Axel Kussmann (@apkussma) December 27, 2012

And off I went.  I actually skied on my own street to avoid the side-walks that my more industrious neighbours had already cleared.  I also skied across a few lawns, just to be able to spare my skis from cement, salt, or whatever.  Still I had to take them off and walk for a bit (though it gave me a chance to joke with an elderly lady shovelling her driveway.  Once I hit the park, I was good for a long ride on my skis.

Of course, I hadn't thought the whole route through...
#SkiCommute have to take 'em off for this part
— Axel Kussmann (@apkussma) December 27, 2012

This would be the first of two bridges I had to go under...
I became aware of just how little snow I was skiing on by the fact that instead of the usual satisfying 'crunch' the poles make as they crush snow beneath their tips, there was a startling 'knock' as they hit the gravel or pavement just under the snow.  I got used to it after a while, but it rattled my nerves a little.

#SkiCommute kept the skis on for this part; didn't think it would work.
— Axel Kussmann (@apkussma) December 27, 2012

 This part was real 'bush-whacking'... I enjoy it when I'm running, but even I'm less agile with planks stuck to my feet.  Still, I managed not to fall (especially not into the neighbouring river), and I was really enjoying myself.  I was just about done...
Last effort...uphill #SkiCommute
— Axel Kussmann (@apkussma) December 27, 2012

After I took that picture, I think I put my Blackberry back in my pocket.  I took my skis off at the top of the hill, because it was all side-walk from there on in.  I wanted to terminate the Endomondo session and tweet victory, but I noticed the Blackberry was not in my pocket, and the pocket was unzipped.

I figured it fell out as I bent over to take off the skis, but I couldn't find it at the top of the hill.  I retraced my steps to where I took the picture and couldn't see a sign of it.  I dug through the snow, I looked at every suspicious hole in the snow.  I eventually ran inside, asked to look at Endomondo on someone's computer.

You can see almost exactly where it must have been.  I ran back outside, and searched a 25 square foot area for a good 20 minutes, digging with my hands, kicking snow with my boots... nothing.  The mishap put a  damper on my mood... I can't say it ruined the day since I'd accomplished something I'd been fantasizing about since we moved into our house.

And so the great #SkiCommute comes to an ignoble end... with a lost cell-phone.#Fitfluential.
— Axel Kussmann (@apkussma) December 27, 2012

I got out of my ski clothes in the change rooms, and treated myself to a hot shower.  I think everyone is still in holiday half-sleep, since the sight of me walking around the office carrying skis didn't raise any questions at all.

The Blackberry was gone, and I had to report it as such, but the good news is I had my new Samsung Galaxy S3 waiting in the wings (as described here).   This gave me the excuse to embrace change and get it activated; I'm still getting used to it, but Endomondo was the first app I installed so that I could make the trip back home.

On the way home, I didn't live tweet, I didn't take pictures.  I figure all that goofing around was what led to me losing track of the old phone.  I just concentrated on skiing.  Due to that focus, and the fact that the snow had been tramped down by hikers, toboggans, bikes, and I don't know what else, it was much faster going; almost like skiing on a track-set trail.  The stats from Endomondo seem to back that up:

I got home and squared away most of the gear, then started preparing dinner - Chili! What every good ski commuter eats for hisher reward meal when he/she gets in from the cold.  I guess I should invest in snow-shoes so I can do another wacky commute... after all, a snow-storm is no excuse to miss work!

Can you turn a 'bad' weather day into an opportunity?  Let me know!

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