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Cross country skiing

An incredible workout, ski de fond (cross country skiing) or nordic skiing uses every muscle group and requires a great deal of energy and stamina. This sports allow you to travel across stunning snowy scenery, taking in the incredible views and fresh mountain air as you glide. Whether you choose the classic style or the more energetic skating style, the terrain will take you up some challenging hills and down some fun, fast descents. Even experienced skiers will find the descents on cross country skis exhilarating and somewhat scary to start with!

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Cross country ski equipment


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Cross country skiing Ski de fond, or cross country skiing as it’s known in the UK, is a form of ski touring in which participants propel themselves across the snow using one of two techniques, classic style or skating style. Whether you choose classic style or skating, the terrain will take you up some challenging hills and down some fast, fun descents. Cross country skiing takes place on groomed undulating pistes, with parallel grooves in the snow acting as a guide for your skis.

Nordic skiing is a type of cross country skiing however rather than sticking to groomed tracks, you venture off piste. ‘Nordic terrain’ involves anything from undulating valleys, gentle slopes to off piste routes. It is different to telemark and alpine ski touring as you tend not to ski on steep slopes, usually more open snowfields.

The easiest style to get into first is classic cross country skiing because it can be adapted to skiers of all levels, abilities and fitness. With classic cross country, you have the option of going fast or slow with the safety of being on a groomed track. Skiing on groomed pistes also gives you a certain level of confidence as the grooves in the snow help to keep your skis on track. Once you’ve mastered this technique, definitely give Nordic a go for more variety in routes.

We would say Nordic. Classic cross country and skating are varied because they both allow skiers to determine their own speed and intensity. It can range from gentle, relaxing movements to a serious, cardio workout. However, Nordic skiing offers the chance to explore the wilder, more remote areas in resort. When you go off-trail, the change in snow conditions, terrain and views will be much more varied than on a man-made track.

No previous ski or cross country ski experience required. On registration you will provisionally be put into groups according to your experience. During the first instructed session the groups are harmonized to ensure that everybody is at a similar level.  Participants can choose between classic or skating style. 

Cross-country skiing is excellent for the body's cardiovascular system, trains all the major parts of the body and at the same time, unlike running, minimises the pressure and impact on the joints.  Of course, as with every other endurance sport it will be easier and more enjoyable if you already have a certain basic level of fitness before you start. Jogging and cycling are great ways to get ready for your trip.

Skis: You will get given a set of touring skis which are narrow and lightweight. These are designed to fit groomed tracks size wise.

Boots: Boots will connect to your skis at the toe, leaving the heel free for gliding and maneuvering.

Poles: Poles will be measured from the ground to your armpits, so a bit different to your average ski poles.

It is very important to get your layers correct for cross country skiing. Try to wear breathable, stretchy layers, not thick, warm ski suits. As this is an energetic activity, you will get hot but you want to be protected from the outdoor elements. We would suggest wearing leggings and an thermal long sleeve top and have a light waterproof layer with you. Start with a hat and gloves and take them off if not needed. Sunglasses are also highly recommended.

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