Whether you have heard of cross country skiing, and you are interested in knowing more about the extreme sport, or you have never heard of cross-country skiing, but you are intrigued by it, this article is right for you! We discuss everything you need to know about cross country skiing, from describing what a typical cross country skiing trip is like, to defining what cross country skiing gear you will need to buy. Continue below to get a mini lesson on cross country skiing!
In the most simplistic terms, cross country skiing is the activity of relying on your own locomotion (so skiing) in order to move across snowy terrain. So, instead of taking a ski lift, helicopter, or another form of transportation, to your next slope, you ski there.
On a typical cross-country skiing trip, you can expect to transport yourself from where you were dropped off, to and from each slope you want to ski on, and back to your initial transportation. You will most likely stop in between slopes. Some cross country skiers even make it a camping trip, but that is only for the most experienced cross country skiers. Overall, expect to be given no transportation to and from slopes. It will only be you, your skis, and whoever you are cross country skiing with.
If you had a chance to read our article about the history of skiing (if you didn’t go check it out), then you basically know the history of cross country skiing. The earliest records of people skiing were of people using skis as a means of transportation. Skiing was not viewed as a recreational sport until closer to modern times. And, since cross country skiing is basically the activity of using skis as transportation that means that cross-country skiing has been around since skiing began. It just was not called cross country skiing.
Like any other extreme sport, it poses its risks, but overall, it is safe. Cross country skiing has the same risks as any other form of skiing, such as; possible injuries and even death, avalanches and other weather hazards, the environment, and getting lost. But, all of those risks are usually slightly increased when to cross country skiing because cross country skiing is usually done on lightly marked, or completely unmarked, terrain. Since other, more popular, types of skiing are completed within the territory of a ski resort, the ski resort usually takes extra precautions to ensure that their mountains are safe and completely groomed. But, that is not the case for mountains outside of ski resorts. While some ski resorts do offer cross-country skiing options, most cross-country skiing enthusiasts choose to cross country ski outside of ski resorts since it gives them more room for adventure and more of a challenge.
Overall, if you are interested in cross country skiing, educate yourself on the main risks of a designated area you are planning to travel to. Thus, if something did happen, you would be prepared.
The main thing that makes cross country skiing different than other types of skiing is that you use no means of transportation, except your skis, while cross country skiing. Of course, you can use transportation from your house, or lodging facility, to the designated cross country skiing, starting area, and back. But, other than that, you will use nothing else, but your skis, while on your cross-country ski excursion. The means of transportation differs from the kind of skiing you do. When you go heli-skiing, you use a helicopter. When you go cat skiing, you use a snowcat. When you go basic skiing at a ski resort, or another kind of skiing, such as freestyle skiing, you most likely use a magic carpet or a ski lift.
Other than the way you transport yourself to and from each slope, cross-country skiing is generally done on backcountry slopes, while more common forms of skiing are usually done at a ski resort.
Another thing that differs among cross country skiing and other forms of skiing is the gear. You can expect your cross country skiing gear to be a little bit different than your regular skiing gear. To begin our list of cross country skiing gear, you will need a pair of skis. Cross country skis are a lot lighter and narrower than regular skis. Also, the skis have longer curved tips and a generally longer length. As for the poles, what kind of poles will differ among what technique you use while crossing country skiing. If you use a classic technique, then the poles should extend to your armpit when you stand. But, if you use a free technique, then the poles should extend to your chin or mouth when you stand. They should also be stiffer.
As for the bindings and boots, they are also different. Cross country skiing boots are similar to running shoes in the sense that they are more rigid and have more ankle support than your typical ski boot. As for the bindings, the bindings should only secure the toe of the boot to the ski, instead of the typical bindings that secure the whole boot.
Finally, the last piece of cross country skiing gear you will need to buy is wax. You will need wax because it can help decrease the friction between the skis and the snow, as well as increase the friction. It all depends on the kind of wax you purchase and the snow conditions of the area where you are cross country skiing.
That concludes the overall list of cross country skiing gear. As you can tell, cross country skiing gear is a lot different than your typical skiing gear. This is most likely due because the general conditions of cross country skiing are different than the typical conditions of basic skiing. Another cross country skiing gear item you could use, but is not on this list, is a small backpack full of necessities. Carrying a small backpack full of things such as; a knife, water, a snack, and other survival items could come in handy while you are on your long cross country excursion!