How Are Cross Country Skis Measured? [Facts!]

Spread the love

What’s the difference between a recreational skier and a professional ski racer? The former gets to explore the mountains and enjoy the thrill of the turns, while the latter has a more structured and routine lifestyle focused on training and competing.

Cross country skiing is a unique sport that’s been around for more than 100 years and was first practiced in Germany. The main purpose of cross country skiing is to cover as much distance as possible while maintaining a high degree of balance and control. This balance and control is essential in preventing injuries that could potentially end a person’s skiing career.

Although it’s been around for a while, the sport is still relatively unknown and under-appreciated outside of Europe. That could all change this winter with the Winter Olympics taking place in PyeongChang, South Korea.

The International Ski Federation (FIS) regulates and promotes the sport globally and at the local level, each country sets the rules and regulations for competitive skiing. We’ll take a quick look at how cross country skiing is measured and regulated to give you a better understanding of the sport.

International Ski Federation Regulations

As a sprinter looking to make the transition to cross country skiing, you’ll need to get your head around the different rules and regulations that apply to the two sports. They are not always compatible and you may find yourself facing a ban if you aren’t aware of the finer points.

First of all, the length of the ski season determines the maximum amount of training you can do in terms of hours. On the whole, the season is shorter in the northern countries compared to the southern ones, which may explain why cross country skiing is more popular there. More about that below.

Maximum Training Hours

All top-level athletes in the sport are subjected to incredibly rigorous schedules that include both on- and off-piste training. This is why you won’t often see any recreational skiers at the top of their game, especially in the winter. The key word is ‘training’ – your body needs to be in top shape all year round to be able to cope with the demands of skiing.

An average day on the slopes for a professional athlete includes a quick ski run to build up speed and energy, followed by a lengthy off-piste workout. The off-piste workout lasts for a couple of hours and it’s typically focused on various drills and techniques that help you maintain your balance while on the move. This is crucial in preventing injuries, especially in the case of a fall.

Even on-piste, the training regime is intense as top-level skiers often do several short (less than 30 minutes) runs with a break in between to allow for recovery and re-adjustment to the pace and intensity of the workout. While this may not sound like a lot of fun, it is a very effective way to prepare for competitions and it’s a badge of honor to be able to train this hard.

Equipment Used

The equipment is pretty self-explanatory – the longer the ski, the thinner and lighter it will be. However, another important factor that determines your skiing experience is the type of equipment you use. This varies from country to country, so it’s a good idea to research the right equipment for your region before hitting the slopes.

In most cases, top-level skiers use a combination of two or three types of equipment. The classic setup is 2 meters in length with a fixed grip, twin-tip design and an adjustable waist (called jumar) to accommodate different body shapes.

These three elements work in unison to give you a smooth and stable ride while maintaining your forward momentum. As already mentioned, the season is shorter in the northern countries, which means you’ll need to replace your equipment more frequently. The good news is you can get all of this and more for a great deal in a sport equipment store. Just make sure you know what type of skier you are looking for – recreational, junior, or professional.

Ski Runners Vs. Skiers

Most people will be familiar with the term ‘sportswear’, which describes ski jackets and ski pants that are designed for performance rather than looking stylish. Indeed, if you want to be seen as a top-level skier, you’ll need to look the part and this is where most people get it wrong. The key word with ‘sportswear’ is ‘performance’. You don’t need to look like a mess, but you must be able to perform well in ski clothes.

In terms of looks, the difference between a recreational skier and a top-level ski racer is extremely subtle. While a recreational skier is usually to be found skiing with his or her family during the summer, the top-level athlete will be seen during the whole winter season and many big races are even held during the summer to avoid conflicting with competitive school sports.

On the other hand, a top-level ski racer will always be at the forefront of technology and be the first to try out new gear. When it comes to fitness, most top-level skiers are extremely strong and highly fit, which is a great advantage when it comes to racing. This is probably why many professional athletes enjoy their sport so much – it requires a lot of mental and physical strength.

Even if you’ve never tried it, cross country skiing is a really cool sport to watch and I think you’ll appreciate it more as you get deeper into the hobby. It takes a lot of strength to pull off those tricks and flips, and it shows how dedicated and focused the athletes are to their sport. Keep your eyes open for this winter in South Korea – it’ll be on the TV all the time and the atmosphere will be electric.

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!