Many associate cross country skiing with countries such as Norway and Finland and they would be right to as Scandinavia is where Nordic sports, where the skier has a free heel, originated. This doesn’t mean that they are the only ones who get a chance to do this sport. In fact there are many places around the world where cross country skiing is a major sport and in some cases simply a way to get around!
You may have watched this type of skiing in the Winter Olympics and watched in awe as the lycra clad athletes glided effortlessly over the snow and pushed themselves to the limits to get the medals. This is a great way to get acquainted with the sport and to familiarise yourself with the different techniques within cross country skiing.
The first is classic style – the one where you ski within pre-cut tracks. This is the most well known style and a very elegant one at that! The second is the younger addition to the cross country ski family as it only began in the 80s and is called the ‘Freestyle or Skating’ technique. Both of them include the use of poles with baskets to help propel the skier forward as well as to help with balance but differ when it comes to the equipment.
Classic skis are longer with a curled up tip at the front whereas skate skis are shorter and stiffer. Pole lengths are different with skating poles longer than classics and boots are much stiffer for skating to support the ankle.
There is so much more we could talk about on here but we hope this has given you a little snapshot of what cross country skiing is all about. Over the next few months, we will be featuring more in-depth descriptions of equipment, techniques, reviews of countries you can visit to go cross country skiing and much more.
Please get in touch if you have any questions about cross country skiing – we may not be experts but we can definitely point you in the right direction!
Coaching advice and videos: