Cross Country Skis What Every Skier Must Know

Cross-country skiing is a sport that anyone can do. You don’t need to be an athlete or have any previous experience in the sport to enjoy cross-country skiing and reap the benefits of this great exercise.

Cross-country skis are lightweight, easy to use, inexpensive, and allow you to explore wonderful places like forests and mountains while getting in shape. They’re also safer than downhill skiing which often results in injuries when people fall on hard surfaces like rocks or tree roots.

And because they’re not as expensive as other winter sports such as snowboarding or alpine skiing there’s no need for you to ever worry about breaking your budget if you decide cross country is for you.

What is cross country skiing?

A close up of a light bulb

Cross-country skiing is a type of skiing in which skiers use their own power to navigate across the snow-covered ground rather than using ski lifts or other types of assistance.

Cross-country skiing is a popular sport and recreational activity, but it is also being used as a means of transportation by some. Cross-country skiing techniques are adapted to a variety of terrain, ranging from unimproved to groomed courses that are specially designed for the activity.

Cross-country skiing is similar to the original form of skiing from which all modern skiing disciplines evolved, including alpine skiing, ski jumping, and Telemark skiing. Skiers propel themselves either by striding forward (classic style) or side-to-side in a skating motion (skate skiing), aided by arms pushing on ski poles.

Nordic skiing is a sport that includes cross-country skiing, also known as ski touring. It’s found in snowy areas like Europe, Canada, Russia, the United States, Australia[n], and New Zealand. Biathlon is the Olympic event combining cross-country skiing with rifle marksmanship.


A close up of a fish

The Old Norse word skíð, which means stick of wood, gave skiing its name. Skiing began as a method of traveling cross-country on snow skis over millennia ago in Scandinavia and may have been carried out as far back as 600 BCE in Daxing’anling, China.

The Sami people are known as skrithiphinoi, meaning “ski running Samis,” in Procopius’ oldest surviving text. King Haakon the Good’s use of skis to pursue taxes is mentioned in Egil Skallagrimsson’s 951 CE narrative. Private landowners were unable to ski moose on their property, according to the Gulating law (1274).

Cross-country skiing evolved from a practical mode of transportation to becoming a worldwide recreational and competitive sport that diversified into additional types of skiing in the mid-nineteenth century.

Skis were first used by the Norwegians, who mounted them on poles or spears. The first depiction of a skier with two ski poles is from 1741. Traditional skis, which were used for snow travel in Norway and elsewhere into the 1800s, included one short ski with a natural fur traction surface.

The combination of the two is widespread among the Sami people. Skis up to 280 cms long have been created in Finland, and the longest verified ski in Norway measures 373 cms long.


The Danish historian Saxo Grammaticus wrote about ski warfare in the 13th century, and the practice of skiing troops in combat is first attested to by him. These troops were said to be able to cover distances comparable to light cavalry.

Skis were utilized in military training exercises in 1747. In 1799, French traveler Jacques de la Tocnaie wrote about his visit to Norway in his travel diary: Norwegian immigrants used skis (“Norwegian snowshoes”) in the midwest of the United States from around 1836.

In 1888, Norwegian explorer Fridtjof Nansen and his crew skied across the Greenland icecap. In 1890, Norwegian workers on the Buenos Aires-Valparaiso railway line brought skiing to South America. [7] Roald Amundsen utilized skis during his 1910 South Pole Expedition.

The first skis in Japan were brought by the Norwegian consul in Kobe in 1902, who was inspired by the death of Japanese soldiers during a snowstorm while skiing. Starting in 1919, Vladimir Lenin assisted in popularizing skiing in the Soviet Union.


Norwegian ski regiments staged military skiing events in the 18th century, which were divided into four categories: shooting at a target while skiing at “top speed,” downhill racing among trees, and uphill racing on large slopes without tumbling.

In 1843, a public ski competition was held in Tromsø for the first time. Competitive skiing where the objective is to cover a set distance in groomed tracks in the quickest amount of time is referred to as langrenn in Norwegian.

The first attempt at skate skiing took place in the early 20th century, but it was not widely utilized until the 1980s. Johan Grøttumsbrten employed the skating technique at the 1931 World Championship in Oberhof, which is believed to be one of the first recorded instances of competitive cross-country skiing using this method.

During his skiing over snow, Rolf Aamodt-Larsen created the “zigzag” method in 1960. It was improved by his brother Rune during their Olympic careers. In the 1960s, ski orienteering on hard surfaces such as roads and other firm ground utilized the technique.

In the 1970s, Finnish skier Pauli Siitonen created a one-sided variation of the style in which he left one ski in the track and skated to the side with the other during endurance events; this was subsequently called a “marathon skate.”


Fridtjov Nansen and Hjalmar Johansen are depicted in this drawing, standing at the camp of Frederick Jackson on Northbrook Island in 1896.

The word “ski” comes from the Old Norse term skíð, which means “cleft wood,” “stick of wood,” or “ski.” Norwegian does not have a verb-form equivalent for this idiom in idiomatic speech, unlike English.

gå på ski

turgåing på ski


Fridtjof Nansen, who traveled across Greenland in 1893 aboard the Imperial I and was a Nobel Peace Prize winner, has this to say about it: “På ski over Grønland,” he wrote of his crossing.

“When the skier is performing well, he must turn his ski to one side or another within very tight limits at maximum speed on a steep hill,” Frode explained. Nansen considered these types (i.e., jumping and slalom) as “exotic arts” that were more significant than travel “on an everyday basis.

In Germany, Nansen’s Greenland account was published as Auf Schneeschuhen durch Grönland (literally “On snowshoes through Greenland”) in 1879. The German term, Schneeschuh, was replaced by the imported Norwegian word Ski in the late nineteenth century.

The Norwegian encyclopedia of sports also uses the phrase, “skiløping,” for all types of skiing (literally, “ski running”). [3] In German, the word Skilaufen was used in the same way as Norwegian: skiløping.


Recreational cross-country skiing includes

Ski touring

Skitouring occurs outside of ski resorts and off the piste. Trips may last for multiple days. Skis, bindings, and boots allow you to freely move your heel, allowing you to walk at a normal pace like in Nordic sports but unlike Alpine skiing.

Ski touring is the term used to describe skiing over difficult terrain, either on skis or snowshoes. It is often necessary for ski mountaineering to be familiar with meteorology, as well as skiing abilities. In certain areas, ski touring can be quicker and easier than summer hiking due to the compactness of the snowpack.

Skis may also be utilized to ski down off-piste alpine routes when snow is not accessible, but once more, they must cover the hiking route. In certain countries, organizations maintain a network of huts that are available for cross-country skiers during the winter months.

For example, the Norwegian Trekking Association operates over 400 cabins that may be used by trekkers in the summer and skiers in the winter.

How to buy your skis

Rusty Krahn, a Canadian National Ski Team-certified cross-country ski coach and engineer of the website, provides his advice on purchasing skis online: “If you don’t want to waste your money buying used skis from Craigslist or eBay, go directly to an expert,” he suggests.

“An expert will be able to guide you to the product that best suits your needs at a price that fits your budget.” If you know what type of skiing interests you, start by asking yourself a few questions: “How much do I want to spend? Will this be a recreational or competitive ski? What type of racing do I plan?

To sum it up, cross-country skiing is a great sport that anyone can enjoy. Whether you’re looking for an accessible activity to do with your friends and family, or if you want to take it up as a recreational hobby, cross country skiing has something for everyone.

Moreover, this article will provide some insight into the different types of equipment available so you can choose what’s best for your needs. So go ahead and get out there. You’ll be glad you did.

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