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      Cross country skiing without snow

      Before the snow starts to fall, cross country skiers have to practice without it.This is Becca Lyle's first year on the high school Copper Country Ski Tigers team, but she's been a skier for over five years. "I was in Ski Tigers when I was young. I was like five or six maybe, and then it just kind of progressed, and I just enjoyed skiing a lot and when the opportunity came to be on the middle school and high school teams, I decided to do it because I like racing," said Lyle.Coach Tom Wood says it takes a lot of practice and dedication to be a cross country skier."Some of the kids are training close to 500 hours. Some are actually a little over 500 hours a year," said Wood."We have to put in quite a lot. We practice on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, and we practice basically year-round except for when you can't run or ski," Lyle said.When it comes to practicing during the time of year when there isn't any snow, they do a lot of running and another exercise called bounding. The poles are used to imitate ski technique; it helps condition the arm muscles and core muscles to help propel the skiers forward.There are 24 students on the race team, and they travel across the country to compete."We don't use downhill ski areas so we travel using skis through the woods and trails through the woods,â?? Wood said.