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Skiing Is Believing 

Paul Reddix wants to make a cross-country skier out of you.

Considering the mild winter we've had so far, the thought of throwing on a parka, strapping on some planks, and joining the throng of outdoor enthusiasts competing in this year's Nordic Flurry Cross-Country Ski Race actually sounds like just the thing to remind us that it is indeed winter around here. The annual competition takes place at Lake Metroparks' Chapin Forest Reservation in Kirtland on Saturday, January 26.

According to Paul Reddix, president of the Ohio Nordic Cross-Country Ski Club and a veteran of several of the past years' events, the recreational race is appropriate for beginning competitors. "It's very low-key and open to all skill levels," he says. "There are people of all ages that compete, from children to grandparents."

Since the competition is divided by age groups, Reddix says, "Whatever your age is, you have some chance of winning or placing." Plaques will be awarded to winners in each category, and no one will leave empty-handed, since all participants receive a commemorative T-shirt.

Reddix, a marathon runner in warm seasons, says the race is "a good motivator for people to stay in good shape through the winter. Cross-country skiing is more aerobic than downhill skiing. Anyone who wants a workout should try it."

Unlike downhill skiing, where chairlifts carry skiers uphill, there are few opportunities to rest in cross-country skiing. "For every hill you go down, there's a hill to go up," he says. "And all you have is your own body power to get up it."

And if that kind of workout doesn't work off some of those winter pounds, we don't know what will.

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