Skiing the Outer Banks

  • Posted On: 22nd January 2014
A trail in Nags Head Woods. Any image of me XCSkiing is long gone.

A trail in Nags Head Woods. Any image of me XCSkiing is long gone.

The Outer Banks is not generally considered a skier’s paradise, but just after I got here in January of 1994, I had one of the best cross country skiing experiences I have ever had.-By Kip Tabb

I figured when I got down here from Pennsylvania I would have to give up an outdoor activity that I had really come to love. I’m not sure that I was all that good at it, but I loved the convenience and freedom that cross country skiing offered. No need to go to a resort to strap on a pair of immobile boots, stand in a lift line, waiting for the chance to crash and burn on an icy slope. . .  the beauty of cross country skiing is that with 4” of snow and a golf course you can have a blast.

I had a pretty good idea that coastal North Carolina wouldn’t have ideal conditions for snow or skiing, but hope springs eternal so when I moved I brought my skis with me.

About a month after I got down here though, the heavens opened up and poured a good 5”-6” on the Outer Banks. I’ve been trying to track the exact dates down for the storm and I can’t seem to find anything that dumped some snow on the Outer Banks that year, but the memory is clear of driving to Nags Head Woods, strapping on my skis and hitting the trails.

It was one of the most beautiful days I have ever had on skis. Admittedly the trails in Nags Head Woods aren’t ideal for cross country skiing; they’re narrow, surprisingly steep at times with switchbacks. Somehow, though, I managed.

Someone I worked with at the time must have mentioned the Woods to me, because I don’t think I had ever been there before I went skiing and every turn in the trail, every hillock and bump was a new discovery, a vista of a part of the Outer Banks I had not even imagined could exist.

I must have been on the Sweet Gum trail because that’s the trail that runs parallel to the transmission lines running through the park. At one point, I recall being at the top of a hill with the clearclut space around the transmission towers around me and taking off on  a glorious downhill run, climbing back up and doing it again and again.

There were so kids out there with sleds. They were looking at me as though I was slightly crazy. . . and I may have been.

Moments of sheer joy have that way of doing that to us.


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