March 2018

If you’ve been keeping track, by now you’ve probably detected my love (obsession?!) with cross-country skiing. This hasn’t always been the case. Like most people I tried it once or twice as a younger person, but it never stuck. In fact, throughout junior high and high school my winter sport was actually wrestling.

However, four winters ago a friend I know through a mutual passion (Aikido) offered me a job working at a Lake Tahoe cross-country ski center. I eagerly agreed because at the time I was only working 1-2 shifts per week at an outdoor recreation retailer and needed to make some extra money. I also thought it would be a fun and free way to learn how to cross-country ski. I learned how to snowboard during my first winter in Tahoe (2005/06) working at a downhill resort, but after a few seasons I realized I didn’t care so much for gravity sports. I actually like going uphill more than downhill!

Mount Tallac viewed from Angora Ridge on February 13, 2018. © Jared Manninen

Who knew where that one simple offer my friend made me back in the winter of 2014/15 would lead to? Since then I’ve been hooked! I won’t bore you with the myriad reasons for my love of the art because they are the same reasons anyone pursues a passion. However, suffice it to say that this experience has been in line with how I’ve lived my life – curiosity gets the best of me and I dive down the rabbit hole, I become proficient and experienced at whatever I’ve gotten myself into, and then I shape my words and world in the image of that current passion.

Overall, this diversity of interests has enabled me to become fluent in many “languages” because there are so many overlapping and common principles behind all disciplines. For example, the body movement required to properly execute the diagonal striding technique of classic cross-country skiing now informs the way I move a brush loaded with ink over paper, as well as how I perform some of the techniques I’m learning in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (which I train in rather infrequently – there’s only so many hours in a day!). The fluidity of movement I achieve on cross-country skis over variable terrain influences how I apply design principles to the infographics, icons, and templates I create for my collection of Tahoe Swag or write an article, such as this.

Grass Lake at Luther Pass on February 28, 2018. © Jared Manninen

This curiosity, and the beginner’s mind inherent with it, is the essence of my process for remaining youthful in mind and body. I admit that trying to describe “who I am” becomes dizzying for people because I can’t outline a clear life plan that I’ve been adhering to. I’m kind of a freak in that respect, but even just spending an hour with me tends to provide enough information for a person to determine whether or not they want to come back for more. For better or worse this also applies in the realm of dating, and mostly they don’t come back. Ha!

I don’t say this as a warning to avoid me or to impress upon you just how intense I can be, because I really am laid back. However, over time I’ve learned that passionate types either draw people to themselves or repel people away. Ultimately, though, they’ve made for the best of friends because they maximize every moment of their lives, are committed to expanding their minds and expressing their souls, and they don’t tolerate a bunch of drama and nonsense. And every once in a while they offer me a new job.

View of Angora burn area on March 1, 2018. © Jared Manninen

I finally began to build my YouTube channel. Please subscribe to it when you get the chance. Eventually I will produce a number of “how-to” videos featuring outdoor-related topics. This past month I made videos showing you how to wax your cross-country skis (also embedded in the Tahoe Trail Guide articles featured below).

This video, however, is the introduction to my YouTube channel. One note … I didn’t realize how loud the wind was until I started to edit these clips. I tried to minimize as best I could the noise, but it is still a bit distracting. Eventually I will produce a cleaner intro video, but for now this will have to suffice.

The following are the articles I wrote in February for Tahoe Trail Guide. I definitely feel like I’m putting my bachelor’s degree in technical writing to use with this website because I’m essentially communicating information, or rather creating a user manual for outdoor stuff (particularly with my Lessons Learned articles). The first two articles are about waxing your “waxless” cross-country skis. Yes, you do need to apply glide wax. Ski manufacturers used the term “waxless” because they incorporated into the grip zone either a fish scale pattern or skin technology to replace the need to used kick wax. For more information about this topic, read the third article about a classic cross-country ski’s grip zone. The last article is about cross-country skiing at a popular area on Luther Pass called Grass lake. It’s a great place to learn to ski because it’s flat and easily accessible. Click an image to read its respective article.

Copyright © 2018 Jared Manninen
Copyright © 2018 Jared Manninen
Copyright © 2018 Jared Manninen
Copyright © 2018 Jared Manninen

This is the video I produced to accompany the article Waxing Your Waxless Cross-Country Skis (for beginner and intermediate xc skiers): Introduction in case you don’t want to read the whole article (but you should!).

A few different versions of winter bliss. Damn, I love playing outside!

Thanks for being a part of my life. Until next time…

-Jared Manninen

Tahoe Trail Guide is an online magazine for sharing my knowledge about hiking, backpacking, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing, as well as information about traveling to (and through) the Lake Tahoe region. I refine that information for a younger audience and produce it in a printed format under the title Wilderness Activity Books. Lastly, Tahoe Swag is a collection of art and design products I create based on my love of the outdoors and appreciation for Lake Tahoe.

Categories: Newsletters
Tags: #2018

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