How easy-to-learn is cross-country skiing? Ask a second grader.

At L.L.Bean, we’ve been telling people for years how easy it is to learn to cross-country ski. Still, some folks remain skeptical. So we thought we’d see if a 7-year-old – fresh off his first-ever cross-country skiing excursion – might be able to convince our readers to give it a try.

Guest blogger Derek Chase is a second grader who loves writing and spending time outdoors. His favorite subjects at school are math and American history. Derek also volunteers at Our Neighbor’s Table. He lives in Massachusetts with his family (including his father, Justin, who writes his own blog, Outdoors, by Cracky!).

We recently sent Derek an L.L.Bean Youth’s Discovery Ski Set – our bestselling kids’ ski package – and asked him to write about his experience.

Derek - L.L.Bean product reviewer

I was so happy and excited to see my new cross-country skis, I just can’t describe it. I couldn’t wait for snow to try them out!

My skis are red, white and black. They aren’t like the grown-up kind where you snap the boot in – instead, you slide your boot and bend the clip to lock them, which is much cooler.

Chase family skiing

The first time, we skied on thick, powdery snow over Lake Atittash, where we live. We – me, my dad, mom, brother Brad and dog Gauge – skied from our dock to our neighbor’s dock. Once I got the hang of it, skiing was fast and smooth. I thought it would take days and days to learn, but it was easy and I felt really confident. It only took me about a half hour. Even when I fell, I still thought it was fun. I really like winter sports, like snowshoeing, hiking and playing in the snow, so cross-country skiing just felt right.

Skiing by the ice flshing hole

The next day, we decided to ski again, all the way across the lake to the ice fishermen [1.5 miles away]. We had been watching them fish through our window, so it seemed like a good idea to check them out. When we got to them, I was surprised that their ice houses weren’t made of wood. Instead, their house was just like a fabric tent. We stopped at a red one and the only thing they had inside was a couple of jackets and a bucket. All the holes they made for fishing were outside. Gauge ran from hole to hole checking for fish, stepping in them, and mostly destroying their flags. After that, we skied back.

Derek by the ice house

Justin and Brad explore the ice fishing hole

The way back was tiring and hard. It seemed 800 miles longer, but I knew it couldn’t be that far. We hadn’t really gone double-digit miles yet, so no way were we triple-digit miles away. We won’t be ready for that for a long time.

Our next plan is to go to my grandpa’s farm, where there are a few hills and lots of flat space to ski around. I definitely want to ski some more!

As you can see, cross-country skiing is not only easy to learn, it’s also lots of fun! We’re glad Derek had such a great time and know he’ll have many more cross-country adventures with his new Discovery Ski Set.

How do you think Derek did with his first L.L.Bean blog post? Let him know in the comments!



Comments (17)

  1. Mrs. Barnaby | March 4, 2014 | 3:41 pm

    I am so proud of you Derek. I always enjoy reading about your family outdoor adventures. Now there are two published authors in the family. I wish that we could have an outdoor club at Cashman to encourage more kids playing and hiking outdoors, especially in the winter.

    • Laurie | L.L.Bean | March 5, 2014 | 8:49 am

      Hi Mrs. Barnaby – Thank you for sharing your comments for Derek. We think he’s pretty great too! ^LB

  2. Tom & Atticus | March 5, 2014 | 8:56 am

    Derek, what an adventurous life you lead with your parents. I like this latest chapter and I’m heartened to see you now starting to share your adventures with the world through your writing. You made me want to try cross country skiing and I’m in my fifties.

  3. Tamah French | March 5, 2014 | 9:48 am

    Way to go Derek!! How cool is it to learn at such a young age how fun cross country skiing is?!
    You’ll be zooming around your Grandpa’s farm and up and down those hills before you know it!

    Thanks for teaching other kids your age to take a chance and try something new and exciting.
    What a great kid you are!

  4. CrisH | March 5, 2014 | 10:01 am

    Great job, Derek! Cross country skiing is terrific and I think Derek really captured it!

  5. Carol | March 5, 2014 | 10:45 am

    My Derek and I used to cross country ski in Vermont, and always had a great time! Enjoy your new Winter sport.

  6. Edith Maxwell | March 5, 2014 | 11:18 am

    So glad you enjoyed your ski adventures, Derek. Cross country skiing is my favorite form of exercise, even though I’m from California! (I have a new LL Bean set, too, and love it.) There’s nothing like gliding over fresh snow on a cold sunny day. Your grandma and I go to church together and she told me about your blog – I’m so glad I got to read it.

  7. Mrs p | March 5, 2014 | 11:45 am

    Hi Derek, how wonderful that you have learned cross country skiing! What a great job!

  8. Kristyl Adams | March 5, 2014 | 12:40 pm

    Derek, you wrote a great blog post! :D And I am glad you took Gauge with you for a bit of fisherman mischief and more! I would love to CC Ski with my grandchildren who are around your age. Looks like so much fun! Thank you for such a nice write up and photos too!

  9. Sandy | March 5, 2014 | 2:37 pm

    What an excellent blog, Derek, and I love the photos. You make it sound so easy to cross-country ski! Thank you for sharing your experience with us!

  10. Kathy Williams | March 5, 2014 | 3:14 pm

    What a great adventure Derek! I’m looking forward to reading your adventure to your grandfather’s. What’s great about your blog my children can read your article too! Good Luck!

  11. Robin | March 5, 2014 | 3:47 pm

    Hi Derek,
    That’s really cool that you learned to cross country ski so quickly! I really enjoyed your story and all the great pictures…you and your family had a nice adventure. I used to cross country ski with my dad when I was about 13, you make me want to try it again. We have a nice park near my house that would be fun to ski!

  12. Susan | March 5, 2014 | 4:34 pm

    Way to go Derek – awesome post and so glad that you found the fun of x-country skiing!

  13. Claudette | March 5, 2014 | 7:04 pm

    Derek, What a good job at blogging. Looks very professional even if you are only 7 years old! Looks like you and your family enjoyed skiing on the frozen ice. I used to do some ice fishing with my parents when I was young. We used to put skates on instead of skis! You brought back many memories for me! Keep up the good work!

  14. Marcia B | March 5, 2014 | 8:12 pm

    Derek, we just love your post and are so happy with your cross country skiing success.

  15. Justin Chase | March 11, 2014 | 5:58 pm

    Thank you all so much for taking time and sharing such kind words of encouragement for Derek. I assure you he has read (and smiled at) every one of them.

    • Laurie | L.L.Bean | March 12, 2014 | 9:15 am

      Thanks again to Justin and Derek and the Chase family! Best, ^LB

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