Many associate cross country skiing with countries such as Norway and Finland and they would be right to. 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. Often it is a useful way to get around!
You may have watched this type of skiing in the Winter Olympics before. Lycra clad athletes gliding effortlessly over the snow and pushing themselves to the limits to get the medals? Sounds familiar? However it is superb for familiarising yourself with the different techniques. However you don’t have to wait four years to get your cross country ski fix. In fact, the professionals battle it out on the snow every single winter. Try catching them on Eurosport or even Youtube!
Classic Vs Skate
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. It is called the freestyle or skating technique and only began in the 1980s. Both of the key techniques include the use of poles with baskets. This helps to propel the skier forward as well as to help with balance. However classic skis are longer with a curled up tip at the front whereas skate skis are shorter and stiffer. Skate pole lengths are longer than classics and boots are much stiffer. This is to support the ankle when rolling onto the outside edge – something unique to skate skiing. For lots more information about cross country ski techniques, please click here for useful drills and videos