Cross country skiing is a popular winter sport and is carried out in many countries including Lapland. Cross country skiing is a sport where skiers travel across snow covered tracks using skis attached to boots and poles. Cross country skiing is often described as Nordic skiing and in places like Lapland there are miles of tracks which are floodlit in the winter days and evenings.
The skies for cross country skiing are longer and narrower than for downhill skiing and the tip of the cross country skies is turned upwards more than in downhill skis. The boots are specially designed to ensure the ski snaps into the ski comfortably and the boots are actually more like walking boots and are much more comfortable to wear than downhill skiing boots.
Most cross country skiing is done on prepared tracks and these tracks are usually ideal for beginners and expert skiers. Typical ski tracks will include uphill and downhill ski tracks and a middle section where more experienced skiers can overtake novices. The tracks will vary between easy, moderate to the more challenging. The running action where the skis are parallel is the most common action, using the poles to propel the skier across the snow. More experienced skiers will use the diagonal actions where each ski alternatively is kicked out side wards in order to gain more speed. When travelling downhill the skier will have the skis about half a meter apart, legs bent slightly and pole lifted to the side. Most people think speeds cannot be reached with cross country skiing but actually on certain tracks speeds are quite fast.
Cross country skiing is not just confined to designated tracks and much skiing is carried out across frozen lakes and other areas. Cross country skiing is a real fitness boost but also great fun and a good alternative to downhill skiing.
Children are often very good at cross country skiing as with downhill skiing they take to it remarkably well. Boots and equipment can be hired for a small fee and children are usually well catered for. In Lapland cross country skiing is common place and it is normal to see many locals skiing down to the supermarket or other places. Skiing over a frozen lake is surreal and very enjoyable especially under the half light of the twilight in the winter months and then when you are hungry; you can stop off and have a well earned bite to eat and a drink.