Ski (skate) 1:45:00 
After all the classic skiing I've been doing recently, I thought it was time to strap on the skate skis again and see about maintaining my gains from the last session. So I went up to French after work and rented a pair. At first it was a little shaky, with a faceplant at the icy bottom of a hill. Then there was a flat section, then another climb that took me a while. Up top, I dawdled a bit talking to a classic skier and caught my breath.
We separated at the downhill at the end of the Skyline Trail (good view, by the way!), and I went around for another pass. This time was better, and things were starting to come together. I had brought my feet in closer, as before, and was starting to get up the hills without losing rhythm. On the flats, I focused on long smooth glides, and keeping my balance point right over one ski or the other, so that it wouldn't slip outward and force me to shift to the other side prematurely.
Then I headed over to do the unlighted north loop and the Meadow Trail. On the way, there were some sections of trail that were washboarded, but I think the previous exercise was successful because as I went over the ripples, I could feel the ski jittering and yawing, yet my balance wasn't really affected. Nevertheless, I was still using my poles an awful lot.
The snow was much better in the woods. I kept focusing on technique for the next couple loops, and on the second one I suddenly found myself pushing off rather effectively (with my right leg, at least) and getting a smart little pop of speed. So THAT's how it works! But still, I had to take that pop into a good glide, and played around with that for a while.
After that, I headed back around to the visitor center, then over to the "Lesson Loops". I went around these at least a half dozen times, and there were a couple of tight turns that let me practice stepping around them. I did the final lap without poles - slower, but it forced me to pay attention to the pushing-off. Finally, feeling like a hotshot, I headed out for another unlighted trail loop and pushed the pace a bit.
It's too bad the season is almost over. This is a lot of fun, and I'm improving fast enough to avoid getting discouraged by the difficulty. It's way easier than learning how to swim.
And by the way... WE NEED SNOW!