Nordic Skiing, Would I Like It ?
If you are active and don’t mind the cold and snow, you may have the temperament to enjoy this outdoor sport. Having done decades of skiing in Ontario, Canada let me fill you in, so you can decide for yourself. Let’s start with the basic concepts.
Nordic skiing is a general term used to encompass Cross-country, Skate and Telemark skiing.
Call it – Cross-country, X-Country or Classic Skiing
is the most popular and offered at all resorts. One uses thin skis with poles to travel machine-groomed trail. Most of the trail would have a track set into the snow for your skis to follow (except on steep sections).
The skis come in two styles: waxed and waxless versions. For years, veterans of the sport would put glide wax on the ends of the skis and grip wax on the base under the boot area. Picking the right wax is a science and a pain to put on, but if done for the right temperature range it will give you the longest glide after a kick so you go further on the same leg power.
A kick? Yes, the process of moving forward involves getting a push from the grip wax as you swing your arms and legs back and forth. This takes a bit of getting used to. But the most important part to learn is the turning and stopping process. Without it you will just be worried about hitting a tree or twisting an ankle.
The other type of ski is waxless. This means there is no grip wax, just glide wax on the base. The traction for the skier comes from “fish scales” cut into the base that work at any temperature. This simplifies the ski prep and is the best when the snow is over +0 Celsius but glides are slower and can make some noise.
is a relatively new sport that is offered at most resorts. Trails are groomed wider with no track set, though often one shares the same path with cross-country skiers on one side.
Skis are narrower and shorter, boots are higher with better support, and poles are longer.
Skis have no grip wax, just glide wax and you push sideways as you would while ice skating to move you forward.
Skate skiers love the speed and great aerobic exercise they can get. One can sort of skate ski with a regular pair of classic skis and boots; you just won’t be as agile or fast.
is similar to downhill, with a boot that bends in the binding as you turn. It combines downhill and cross country technics and originated in Norway. We do not cover this fine old specialized sport on our site.
One can find trails close to home or cut your own in a local park. Equipment and trail fees (if any) are a fraction of what downhill skiers pay. Plus the exercise, fresh air and serenity of the woods are wonderful.
More will be said in future posts about gear, technique, ski conditions, clothing and food. Give it a try, when the snow is here…stretch your legs and get out there!
The best part of Nordic skiing is it does not need a hill to enjoy it.