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Cross country skiing

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Cross country skiing

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Cross country skiing is a very efficient way of traveling great distances. The skis are narrower than the usual downhill and slalom skis, and the poles are much longer to help you pole along. You can go cross country in a prepared track or outside in fresh snow. Mountain skis to go outside of the tracks tend to be a bit wider than the skis which you use in tracks, this is to help you to float better in the snow outside of the tracks. Boots are usually made of leather or some synthetic flexible fabric.


Cross country skiing, is something that anyone can take up and can be a fantastic way to see the area and away from the hustle and bustle of the main resort. Think of it as hiking on skis and it's known by a variety of names – Nordic skiing in Scandinavia, Langlauf in Germany and Austria, Sci di fondi in Italy and Ski du fond in France. Its often abbreviated as XC.


The skis are very lightweight, thin and designed for self propulsion over a variety of terrains. The boots are lightweight and attach to the skis at the toes only, with the bindings allowing the heel to lift off the ski. There are two types of skis – classic and skating. Within the classic skis, there are also waxless skis which either use a fishscale or a “carpet” at the grip zone which allows the ski to grip as it goes up hill. Waxable skis require different types of wax for different snow temperatures which is rubbed into the grip zone. Both types of classic skis require a glide wax to be ironed into the glide zone of the ski base.

Skating skis only have a glide zone that covers the length of base and no grip zone. Wax is required to be ironed into the whole of the base for glide.



There are two techniques which correspond to the ski types mentioned above being classic and skate. The classic style entails the skiers using the parallel tracks cut into the snow, often referred to as løipe, and moving forward with a striding motion using poles. On downhill sections, a snowplough can be used to control speed, once you are out of the track.

Skate skiing involves movement similar to ice skating, transferring weight from one ski to another, with skis moving outwards in a diagonal direction to propel you forward. This style generally allows much quicker ground coverage, but it also expends more energy!


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