I'm a beginning XC skiier working on getting to intermediate (I've gone out 8 times so far).
Yesterday I went to Cabin Creek (a sno-park in Washington) to try night-skiing for the first time. We had just gotten a good amount of fresh snow, so we were looking forward to the skiing. Cabin Creek is normally groomed, but it had only been groomed on Wednesday, before the new snowfall.
I found the semi-groomed trail to be really difficult on my skinny skis. I followed in my friends' tracks through the new snow, which created ruts that I couldn't easily push my skis out of to snowplow to slow myself on hills. Worse, there were previous people's ruts that had gotten hard and icy, which my skis wanted to jump into and trip me up. Finally, there were clumps and islands of snow (a few inches higher than the ground-level snow) scattered throughout the trail, which would push me around when my skis bumped into them -- I was unable to just "slice through" them like I had thought I would be able to.
I ended up having to start the hills already in snowplow position, even though that was excessively slow in the powder (which seems significantly slower than on hard groomed snow). I was afraid that if I let my skis go straight for a while to build up the speed I wanted, I wouldn't be able to push my skis back out into snowplow again to slow down.
Is this just a lack of strength in my legs, or lack of force, and I really just need to power through those chunks and ruts? Or is there a limitation on what skinny skis can do outside of nicely groomed trails? How do I avoid the old ruts "derailing" me?
Thanks in advanced for any tips!