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      Learning an Olympic sport: Cross country skiing

      In honor of the 2014 Olympics, the reporters are each learning a new sport in spirit of the games.

      I took on cross country skiing, an Olympic sport that combines upper and lower body strength with coordination and rhythm.

      "The skis give what you give them,â?? said Mr. Bike, Ski and Fitness owner, Matt Marenger. â??So, the more enthusiasm or energy you give to your ski, the more it gives to you in glide and thrill."

      The skis themselves have come a long way. Originally made of wood, they are now a carbon composite with grip and glide sections.

      So, for my first lesson, Matt and I hit the trails at Ludington Park in Escanaba. The goal is to compress the ski grips into the snow, then releasing the grip and gliding.

      "So when you step down, you're going to concentrate on those grippy things engaging," Marenger explained.

      The poles are used to propel you forward, and the key is using the arm opposite of the leg moving forward.

      The half-hour lesson was an intense workout for me, but many of the Olympians participating in this event stay active on and off their skis.

      "For most of them, skiing is the sport they participate in, but they do many other sports to complement that activity," Marenger said.

      For more information on cross country skiing and rentals, visit Mr. Bike, Ski and Fitness in Escanaba, or check out their website here.