Nordic skiing, also known as cross-country skiing, is a great way to stay in shape throughout the winter months. Whether you’re looking to increase or maintain aerobic strength, or just want to try something new, Nordic skiing is a fun activity that can be equally fun for beginners and experts.
The movements of cross country skiing are easy to get the hang of, and there are two basic types of Nordic skiing: skate skiing and classic skiing.
Skate skiing unsurprisingly resembles skating in its rhythm and side-to-side movement. Wide trails and faster, specialized skis are used.
Classic skiing entails moving your skis parallel to each other in more of a forward-backward walking motion. It’s easier, slower, requires less expertise, and can be done on semi-groomed trails.
Beginners will want to stick with classic skiing on groomed and semi-groomed trails. A groomed trail is a trail where two tracks have already been packed down into the snow. You can find groomed trails at many ski resorts, and Colorado has tons of Nordic centers. Consider beginning at a Nordic center or resort with designated cross-country trails before moving onto touring (where you blaze your own trails). Many well-known hiking trails double as cross-country skiing trails during the winter.
The moves are relatively simple and straightforward, but it never hurts to do some research. Active.com details the moves you’ll use, and how to improve on the basics.
You’ll need skis, boots, bindings, and poles. Like with many other activities, you can go crazy with all of the different varieties of gear available, but it doesn’t have to be complicated and renting is also an option. If you want to buy, you can purchase entire packages directly from a gear retailer, or hodge-podge your gear from second-hand sources like Craigslist.
You’ll want to make sure that your skis are the proper length, that your boots fit comfortably, and that your poles are also the appropriate height. A trusted retailer can be extremely helpful in ensuring you get gear that fits correctly. For an in-depth primer on choosing the correct gear for the type of skiing you’ll be doing, check out this article from REI.
Choosing the best clothing for Nordic skiing is similar to dressing for other outdoor sports, but avoid overdressing. You’ll generate a fair amount of body heat out on the trails, so moisture-wicking base layers are imperative, and layering is the way to go. Again, REI offers an excellent resource on how to choose the best clothing that will keep you comfortable in a variety of winter conditions.
Nordic skiing is perfect for casual to serious athletes, and is especially helpful for anyone looking to keep their aerobic fitness up in the winter. Runners, triathletes, cyclists, and more can benefit from adding this sport to their fitness regime.
You’ll work your legs and arms, but Nordic skiing also works your core, since you’ll find yourself balancing on one leg as you push off each time. Mindfully engage your core to get the full benefits of this activity, because having a strong core increases performance in every other sport or activity you participate in.
So, when you need a break from avoiding the cold by snuggling up on the couch and binge watching Netflix, give Nordic skiing a whirl. Once spring arrives you’ll be thankful that you stayed active all winter!Have you gone Nordic skiing before, and if so, did you enjoy it? What are some of your other favorite wintertime activities? Inspire others in the comments below!