Have you cross country skied in the dark?
If you live above the 52nd parallel like we do, you may find yourself skiing more often in darkness than you do in daylight hours, especially in December and January.
But even if you live somewhere with longer daylight hours, it is worth it to get out there when the sun isn't shining. Here are some reasons to get on the skis in the dark:
It's quiet. There are far fewer people on the trails after sundown. Plus the wind has usually died down by then. For those of us forced to get our km's in on golf courses which can be bitterly cold and windy, this is a real plus.
It can improve your skiing. Have you ever tried standing on one leg with your eyes closed? Harder than it seems. We are extremely reliant on visual cues but when you take them away it forces you to depend on your other senses. Skiing in low light situations (by moonlight, or with your headlamp on dim, for example) affects your depth perception and requires better balance and reactionary reflexes. This will improve your daylight skiing.
It is fun! Take a buddy with you - it's safer and usually more fun anyway. Skiing at night is a different experience and some of our most memorable skis have been after sunset. If you like it, you could give the Lamplighter Loppet at Good Spirit a try which takes place at night.
Skiing in the dark is a blast - but sometimes it can be too dark, which can be both frustrating and potentially dangerous. Most skiers use headlamps when skiing at night - you can always put them on dim or turn them off if there is enough moonlight or ambient light.
We've tried many headlamps over the years and our current favourite is the Petzl Aktic Core. It has a rechargeable battery so you can charge it up before each ski - the typical AAA battery headlamps get notoriously dim in cold weather. It also has a blinding 450 lumens if you need it, and other less intense levels so there is the right amount of lighting for what you want. It also has one big button that you can operate with ski gloves on.
Happy night skiing folks!