Do you wonder why some people just love cross-country skiing? Some say it’s because of the amazing outdoor adventure experience. The view is beautiful, the trail filled with eager country skiers that all seem friendly. Any age can try it actually, and it can be anybody’s regular hobby or an escape to one’s mundane life.
Cross-country skiing is considered one of the healthiest physical activities that are beneficial for the heart, lungs, and virtually all parts of the body, including the brain. It doesn’t overwork the muscles, but instead, it’s an effective way to lose weight and build core strength. But just how does one begin his journey to becoming a master cross-country skier?
Let’s learn the basics here.
Cross-country Styles And Gears
The primary types of cross-country styles and gears are classic and skate. With both, one’s boots are attached to the toes, and the back heels are open and free for easy lift.
Most first-timers begin with the classic skiing style. It is simply moving both feet parallel to each other in a shuffling movement. The individual can use this method to kick, glide or stride. The Scenic Caves Nordic Centre uses machines to maintain their slopes for the classic styles, meaning that there are two sections that are compressed in the ice.
The classic ski is taller than a person’s head, and certain variables are required to match one’s weight, skill, and strength to be able to achieve balance. Shifting your weight from one ski to the other should flatten the other ski right away, providing the force to push yourself forward.
Skate skiing, on the other hand, is like rollerblading or ground skating, using side-to-side pushing motion with the legs to move the skier forward. This needs more effort compared to classic skiing. The gear used is as high as a person’s head, and they are created to be tougher yet lighter than the classic ones. Their poles are also relatively long.
If you aren’t sure which style to choose, it would be wise to rent some gear first. When you think you’re ready, head on to a certified cross-country shop to purchase a quality ski. There are also used gears that are sold at a lower price.
Hiring a ski coach is a great way to start, learning classic first. The coach will teach you the basic shuffle and push-off with a kick stride then a gliding stride. In a flat area, you’ll learn using your poles and then eventually balancing without using these poles. The key is to lean forward with your head up before progressing, keeping your knees slightly flexed. After many repetitions, you will then feel a beat for every stride you take.
When you’ve mastered the basic steps and get the rhythm, you can progress to weight shifting while pushing forward. After this, using the poles correctly and effectively would be next.
While you’re adding touches to your strides and glides, your coach will train you on how to go uphill. He will most likely teach you the herringbone technique to achieve this skill, which is done by pointing the tips of your skis outward while the insides of your ski dig into the snow to provide you the traction required to climb upwards. This is not very easy to do, but it is definitely worth the challenge.
The third skill to learn is the ‘snow plow,’ a technique used to slope downhill. When you descend, there are track set trails available to keep your skis and yourself within the tracks. On the sharper hills, you can use the same technique to decrease and control your downward speed.
Don’t forget to use warm, comfortable clothing such as legging and sweaters. They’re snug but can provide you with more freedom to move. If you want to run or walk before starting your lessons, do wear several layers to prevent hypothermia. Of course, don’t forget your hat and your gloves.
Finally, for added protection and style, bring along your oversized sunglasses and a lip balm or lip tint that’ll complement the color of your cheeks in the snow. And do carry your camera. You don’t want to miss those beautiful moments!