The concept behind cross country skiing is pretty simple: get out there and explore the backcountry. Find the trails that take your fancy and enjoy the spectacular views that Nature has to offer.
On the way to introducing you to the delights of this exhilarating sport, we’ll cover the basics of how it all works. So, sit back, grab your ski gear and let’s get started.
The Basics Of Cross Country Skiing
Before you start to think that this is some kind of elaborate ski marathon, let’s do some groundwork. The key words here are “sport” and “winter”. This is a winter sport and, therefore, it is primarily a competition between individuals or teams. This is in stark contrast to summertime skiing, where there is less of a focus on competition and more of a focus on having fun.
In summertime, people are more likely to ski with their family or friends. This is less important in wintertime, when you are more likely to be found in a single-person grotto. Having said that, it is still accepted to ski with someone else’s family or friends in summertime. In fact, one of the delights of a holiday in the Alps is the opportunity to link up with other skiers and snowboarders and hit the snow together.
What is important is that each individual enjoys themselves and has fun. That is the spirit in which cross country skiing should be done. It should still be a team sport, but not a competitive one. This is why the competition element is kept to a minimum in competitions.
What Equipment Do I Need?
So, you’ve decided to give cross country skiing a go. Good choice! On the subject of equipment, this is another area where the sport gets a bad rap. It’s hard to appreciate how different everybody’s needs are, so here’s a rough guideline. You will need a pair of ski boots that fit well and feel comfy on your feet. These will depend on how fast you want to go. If you are going up a relaxed slope, then opt for a pair of cross country skis that are suitable for cruising around. If you are going for a fast one, then go for speed skis. You will also need a pair of downhill skis or a speed board to perform on.
On the subject of the backpack, you will need something to haul all of this stuff around in. Most skiers opt for the classic ski-pack model, but you should find one that suits you well. If you are planning on taking your dog along for the ride, then they will need their own leash and collar. Don’t forget to buy some ski goggles as well. These are important for protecting your eyes from frostbite and snow blindness. Most people prefer a full-face mask, as it covers more of their face and therefore reduces the risk of frostbite. On really sunny days, you might also need some sun protection, in the form of a sun hat and sunglasses.
Prep On The Ice
Now that you’re all set with the basic equipment, it’s time to prepare on the ice. When it comes to cross country skiing, the most important thing to do is to put in the training. Before you begin to think that this is some light stroll on the slopes, it is important to remember that this is a serious endurance sport. This is why it is advised that you begin training as soon as possible. Start slow and build up the fitness gradually. If you want to prepare for a race, then begin by doing some shorter races. These are useful for getting your legs used to the feeling of skiing and for tuning up your endurance. If you are really dedicated, you can map out your routes and make them part of your regular training routine.
On The Slopes: Technique Is Everything
So, you’ve arrived at the top of the ski run. The exhilaration of skiing is still coursing through your veins, and you can’t resist the urge to whoop and holler as you ski down the mountain. Suddenly, you feel a jarring impact. You’ve hit a mogul foot, and you’re face-first in the snow. Fortunately, you’re still able to move your head, so you can apply the “chin up” position and lift yourself out of the snow.
You’re going to need to brush off the snow and ice from your goggles and ski mask, before continuing your descent. When you’re approaching a right-hand turn or anything to the right of center, you want to point your toes slightly outward, ready to dart around the corner. As you round the corner, stick your skis in the air and allow the momentum to kick you downward. This is how you should be doing all of your turns.
When To Go And How Long To Stay
The final key point to make about the times and duration of a cross country ski trip is that, in general, shorter is better. You don’t want to overdo it and pay the price later, with aching muscles and a stiff neck. It is advised by experts that you should only stay in ski resorts for 3-4 days. After that, it’s time to move on. What is more, make sure that the destination you’ve chosen is somewhere appealing to you. If you are looking for a paradise, then pick a place in the Northern Europe, as the climate is generally perfect and the scenery is breathtaking. If you are looking for some action, then head for the Southern Europe, as you’ll find plenty of backcountry to explore. These are just some of the things you need to know to get started with cross country skiing. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go and find some mountain to conquer.