Learn How to Cross Country Ski for the Best Sight-Seeing Adventure

Posted on: November 3, 2018

Are you thinking of a new year’s resolution? Why not take up cross-country skiing! Cross-country skiing originally came from Scandinavia. It made its way to Canada in the 1890s, where it remains ever popular.

In terms of Canadian outdoor sports, it ranks as the 11th most popular. When it comes to participation rates, it ranks just below downhill skiing for Canadians. Whether you’re from Canada or coming here on vacation, cross-country skiing is an excellent way to have an adventure with your family and marvel at the incredible scenery.

After all, when you downhill ski, you whizz by so quickly that you can’t see anything!

In this article, we’ll go over some of the basics of how to cross-country ski:

Decide What Type of Cross-Country Skiing You Want to Do

There are a few types of cross-country skiing you can try.

Touring skis are the most common types of cross-country skis. They are ideal for beginners. You’ll use these type of skis if you’re going on a well-worn path. They are longer than most other skis but are lightweight so that you can glide easily.

Skate skis are for those who are looking for a little extra adventure. These are also generally worn on established trails, and where there is an established track. With these skis, you’ll almost skate wherever you’re going. They’re very short and some say easy to maneuver.

Metal-Edge skis are kind of similar to touring skis, but you’ll use them if you’re planning to go “off road.” Beginners probably won’t start out with metal-edge skis, but you might try them after you’ve started to master the other types of skis.

How to Cross Country Ski: Choosing the Correct Ski Size

If you’re looking to buy skis, it’s actually relatively easy, especially as a beginner. All you’ll need to do is pick a pair based on your height and weight. If you’re a fully grown adult, you can invest in some more expensive skis, while children might need to change theirs out every year or two.

If you ski with a touring company, they will have skis available for you to rent.

Even better? Head out to a Ski Swap event, like the one taking place at Kinosoo Ridge Snow Resort in Cold Lake on November 23rd. Click here for more details on this great event.

Ski Poles

You will also need to choose the correct ski poles when you cross country ski.

Often times, poles come with the skis you purchase and are suited to your weight and size. If you want something different, you can purchase more lightweight poles for greater versatility.

But, again, if you rent the skis, someone will be able to fit you with poles for your adventure.

Be Prepared for a Workout

Skiing generally provides somewhat of a workout, but cross-country skiing can be a little more strenuous than downhill. You need to constantly propel yourself forward using your entire body. You’ll have poles to help you along, but the power really comes from your legs and your core.

But because you’re the power behind the skis, instead of the wind or force propelling you downhill, you can stop and take in the sights. That’s why this type of skiing is perfect for those who are interested in nature.

Stand Tall

When you’re finally on your skis, you’ll need to stand tall to ensure that you have proper form. As you move forward, try to bend at the ankle to propel yourself forward. Avoid trying to propel yourself from the hip. You should go for a short but quick glide that keeps you moving forward.

Start Without Poles

When you’re just learning to cross-country ski and getting in some practice before you start sightseeing, you should start without the poles. This is because some beginners might make the mistake of leaning their body weight on the poles, and using them to move forward.

This is bad form and not good for your upper body. You want to rely on your legs and core, to keep you moving forward, again making sure not to bend at the hip so that you can freely swing your arms back and forward.

Once you’re comfortable and you’ve mastered the art of propelling yourself forward using your legs, you can add the poles.

Getting the Gear

When you go cross-country skiing, there’s no need to overdress. If temperatures are particularly punishing you may need to take more precautions. Typically, though, you won’t need to go all out. You need to remember you’ll be moving the entire time.

Experts recommend that you dress the way you would if you were going for a run in the cold. You may want to add a little bit of extra layering due to the fact that you’ll likely be outside longer. But you don’t need as many layers as you would when downhill skiing simply because the wind is not likely to be as intense.

You should wear sturdy waterproof socks and top and bottom active base layers. Then, you’ll want waterproof snow bottoms and maybe a sweatshirt or fleece jacket. Top it off with a light jacket. Wear gloves and a toque for extra warmth.

You might also want to carry a backpack with you. Don’t overload it, but it’s a good idea to have some snacks, water, tissues, and your camera.

Ready to Cross-Country Ski?

We hope this article helped you learn the very basics of how to cross-country ski. It isn’t too difficult, and if you rent your equipment from an established outlet, you’ll have someone go over the basics with you in person.

Once you’ve finished cross-country skiing, wind down with some events in the Lakeland.

For more information on crafting your perfect Lakeland vacation, visit us here.

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