Skiing in the Yorkshire Wolds? ... it's snow joke!
FORGET the snow-capped mountains in the Alps. Or even the Nevis range in Scotland during winter.
Armed with their skis and poles, a group of people decided to take to the Yorkshire Wolds – without a snowflake in sight.
The low hills are a popular destination for the Yorkshire Dales Cross Country Ski Club.
"The Yorkshire Wolds are very pretty and the roads are more suitable for us as it isn't too hilly and there isn't too much traffic," said club secretary Martin Appleby.
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"We don't get a lot of snow in this country, so we practice on roller skis, normally using cycleways.
"They are like long roller skates. "We wear ski boots, which are fastened at the toe and use the poles to help give us extra power."
Half a dozen members took part in a 16-mile route around the North Newbald and Bishop Burton area at the weekend.
Mr Appleby, 65, of Leeds, has been involved for three decades.
He said: "It is a great form of exercise and a good day out.
"There are a lot of skills involved and even now I am still learning.
"Taking part uses most muscles in your body – from your legs to your arms and upper body.
"It is also a low-impact sport."
The club, which caters for all ages and abilities, covers the whole of the county and has, in the past, had members in the Hull and East Riding region.
"We wouldn't send beginners out on the roads such as in the Wolds, until they were quite experienced," said Mr Appleby, who says he reaches speeds of up to 15mph.
"The key to cross country skiing is balance – it is something that can be learnt, though.
"What you do is push one leg while gliding on the other.
"We don't advise beginners to go on the road. If you can't control the skis, they will run away with you and you will fall over.
"You also might not be able to get out of the way of a car quick enough."
The roller skis have a ratchet on the rear wheel, so the wheels only roll in one way.
"It is so we can go up hills without losing momentum and going backwards," Said Mr Appleby
"We don't go down the hills if they are too steep. There are no brakes on them.
"I don't mind the fact we go uphill, but not down the steep hills as it is good exercise.
"To stop, you have to step around by lifting one ski and stepping to the side. It is as though you are going around a corner.
"People are quite intrigued when they see us out and about, but I think they are getting more used to us.
"They still do stop and talk to us.
"I remember once in Kilham when we saw David Hockney painting.
"One of our members stopped to talk to him."
The Yorkshire Dales Cross Country Ski Club has about 40 members but they are always on the look out for more.
Among their more famous members is Fiona Hughes, who competed in the Vancouver Winter Olympics in 2010.
Mr Appleby, who used to fit beer pumps, said: "It really is something that can be done by a variety of ages and abilities."
After a year of skiing without the snow, Mr Appleby will be seeing some in the near future, with trips Switzerland and Austria in the coming months.
"It's the good thing about being retired, it means I can go on these trips," he said.
"The technique will be the same skiing in the Wolds as abroad. It is a different feeling.
"It will be a bit warmer here, although you get a good head of steam abroad and it can be very hot as it is a very energetic sport.
"The only time you feel cold in the snow is when you stop."
The club is affiliated to Snowsport England (SSE), the official governing body for cross country ski clubs.
Visit www.ydccsc.org.uk for more information.