Are you looking for a way to stay fit and have fun in the winter? Consider cross-country skiing! Depending on your weight, the intensity of your skiing, and whether or not you choose to ski hills, cross country skiing may burn between 400 and 1400 calories per hour. In fact, since cross-country skiing involves a simultaneous use of the arms and legs, many exercise physiologists consider it to be the best form of aerobic exercise. The main difference between cross country Skiing and alpine or downhill skiing is that cross country skiing, the skier is attached to the ski only with the toe of the boot.. In alpine skiing, the entire boot is attached to the ski. The free heel allows cross-country skiers to climb uphill which is not very comfortable in alpine skis.
Cross-country skiing dates back to Scandinavia 4000-4500 years ago, when it was used as a method of transportation. Today, the sport is divided into two disciplines: classic skiing which uses a straight-ahead gliding motion, and ski skating which makes use of glide and edge movements similar to ice skating or roller blading.
Cross-country skiing is part of the Nordic family of sports, which include a number of exciting ways to play in the snow. Biathlon is a combination of cross-country skiing and rifle marksmanship. Nordic combined combines scoring of jumping and cross-country skiing events. Ski orienteering involves a marker search on skis with the help of a compass and map.
Compared to downhill skiing, the gear used for cross-country skiing is some of the most affordable outdoor sports equipment available. You will need the following types of equipment for cross-country skiing:
- Skis with bindings attached,
- Poles and boots.
- Clothing suitable for cold-weather aerobic activity
Some people choose to go cross-country skiing on packed trails, while others like to ski anywhere there is snow. There is a distinct difference between skiing on packed trails and skiing "off-track". On packed surfaces your skis will have greater gliding ability and with classic tracks, you will have two grooved channels that your skis can follow. Off-track ski conditions are dependent on the weather and any previous skiers that have been in the area. However, off-track skiing can feature obstacles such as fallen trees, swollen rivers and inconsistent snow quality. This is usually not an issue in commercial cross-country ski areas, who conduct extensive trail work throughout the summer months.