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What happens when you set yourself a brave new challenge? For one Exodus traveller, it was the start of a love affair – and a whole new way of seeing the world.
One week was all it took for Exodus customer Lynda Macdonald to get the bug. A self-confessed downhill ski addict, trying out cross-country was a natural progression. What was a surprise was how quickly she fell in love with it.
“It’s just a lot calmer,” Lynda says. “There’s time to chat to friends while you’re doing it, and you take in more of the scenery. It’s everything that’s nice about a ski holiday, just a lot more tranquil.” Some people, seized by this first flush of newfound love, might elect to gently get to know each other.
Cross Country Ski Marathons
Not Lynda. On returning home, she enrolled on one of the world’s premier cross-country ski marathons: the legendary Engadin. The race traces its 42km skiing route around this pretty Swiss village.
“The adrenaline pulls you through. You’re swept along with everyone else,” Lynda recalls, who’s done her fair share of half marathons of the running variety. The best way to take on a challenge like this is with a few days in advance to get your ski legs back and get to know the course before the big day.
That’s why we do it that way. “I couldn’t have done it without the Exodus team. They organised everything: paperwork, insurance, accommodation.” Lynda says.
“It’s tough, but it’s an incredible feeling when you complete a marathon.” Agrees Exodus leader Andy McKee. “Yes, it’s a real physical and technical challenge, and you have to be able to ski reasonably well, but you get all levels of skiers, including professional athletes and 80 year olds coming together to share the experience. And we’re adding new marathons every season.”
“I was expecting a long, tough day,” admits Lynda, “but it felt like it was over in an hour!” She finished in an impressive four hours. “Chloe (Exodus Senior Product Manager Chloe Knott) saw me cross the finishing line, and all technique was out of the window. I just broke down in tears. It was a complete shock, and utter elation!”
Will there be a next time?
“Oh yes,” Lynda enthuses. “The scenery, the camaraderie, the kudos of competing in a world-class sporting event. For a 45-year-old woman, I have to admit – that’s quite an achievement!”
See our cross-country skiing trips below and try it for yourself.