What is Cross Country Skiing?

Cross Country Skiing

What is cross country skiing?

Cross-Country Skiing is a type of skiing that has a long history in winter sports. It was originally a way of transportation over snowy terrain but developed into a competitive sport towards the end of the 1800s. Cross-Country Skiing involves the use of long, narrow ski poles and skis hooked onto the athlete by their boots.


The first official competition of Cross-Country SKiing occurred in 1842 in Norway. As the sport became more and more popular in Europe at the beginning of the 20th century, Men’s Cross-Country Skiing was added as an event in the inaugural Winter Olympics in 1924. Women’s Cross-Country Skiing debuted in 1952 at the Oslo Games.

Rules and Regulations

Cross-Country races are typically held in circular courses. International races are typically 10, 15, 30, and 50 kilometers in length for men’s competition, while it’s typically 5, 10, 15, and 30 kilometers for women’s competition. The winner is determined by the lowest time it takes to complete the course. Different types of Cross-Country Skiing races include the Individual Sprint, Team Sprint, Individual Start, Mass Start, Relay, and Pursuit.


Cross-Country Skiing has a simple objective that’s easy to understand for the average viewer. But the rules of what you can and cannot do during different Cross-Country races can get complicated, especially when figuring out what skiing techniques you’re allowed to use.


There are two different types of techniques that are permitted for competitive Cross-Country Skiing: the classic technique and the freestyle. The classic technique is when the heel and toes are securely strapped to the ski, and the skis move in a parallel fashion. The freestyle technique is a much faster form of skiing, where only the toe is secured to the ski, and the skis move side-to-side, giving it the appearance of speed-skating.


How can I learn Cross Country Skiing?

Cross-country skiing is a great way to stay and shape, and is very popular in snowy areas all across the world. To learn cross country skiing, what you are going to want to do is head over to a cross country ski center with groomed trails. From there, you will want to rent some gear and try it out. Depending on where you live, there should be a cross country ski center somewhere near you and you can contact them. If you would like lessons you should be able to book them through the phone. If all you want is to rent some gear, then you can likely get that as well.

What is great about cross country skiing is that you do not need to be a pro to enjoy yourself. Every stage of development from beginner to expert is enjoyable.

What is the best way to get into cross  country skiing?

Perhaps the best way to get into cross country skiing is to hire a tour guide. An experienced tour guide can teach you the basic techniques of pushing off, gliding, braking, and even how to perform the ‘emergency fall’.

While the instructor might not be necessary, it is definitely worth it in the long run if you want to become a seasoned cross country skier. The other great thing about getting a tour guide is that he or she can show you where to go and what trails are most fit for beginners. This will help you for the next time you go by yourself since you will know where you are going.

Can you teach yourself cross country skiing?

Like all types of sports, cross country skiing is something where you will find more improvement if you hire an instructor your first few days. However, cross country skiing is not extremely difficult to get the hang of. Therefore, you very much can teach yourself how to cross country in just a few days.

It is definitely going to take time to find the magic “flow” of cross country skiing, and there will almost certainly be times you might get a little frustrated or exhausted. However, every step of your development process you will enjoy, which is important when learning a new sport.

Naturally, you are going to end up using a technique called the “shuffle”, which involves nothing more than sliding one ski ahead of the other. As you do this more, you are going to be using your poles for balance, and a glide is going to develop more fluidly.

How long does it take to learn cross country skiing?

Depending on how good of shape you are in, the time it will take to get the hang of cross country skiing may vary. The better shape you are in, the quicker it will be to be able to keep up with the veterans. If your stamina is not where it should be, it may take you a bit longer to be able to keep up with everybody else. The good news is that just because you might not be going as fast as others, does not mean you can not go at your own pace. The maneuvers you need to learn in cross country skiing are not particularly difficult. They should only take a few hours to get the hang of, and once you do, you can travel at whatever pace you are most comfortable with.

How difficult is it to cross country ski?

For somebody who is not particularly fit, cross country skiing may be difficult at first. It is a very large aerobic challenge that works the same muscles as when you run, but also builds arm, back, and core strength. Cross country skiing can burn anywhere from 400 to 1,000 calories in one hour according to the American College of Sports Medicine. While the technique may come easy, it is still an exercise that is going to end up being one tough workout.

What do you need to start cross country skiing?

There are lots of different pieces of equipment that you need in order to cross country ski. First, you are going to need skis. When you are selecting skis, your weight is the main factor. As a beginner, you are going to want to go on the shorter size of skis, because they are a bit easier to control. If you are unsure of what size you want, it is always better to go with the shorter size just to be safe.

You are also going to want poles. The poles are going to be much bigger than regular alpine ski poles, as they should go up to your armpits.

You are also going to want a binding system that adds an ankle cuff for stability. You are also going to want supportive and comfortable boots that will fit well into the binding.

In cross country, there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing. You are going to want to make sure you do not dress too warm or too cold. Windstopper jackets and fleece jumpers are the ideal pieces of clothing that you want. Avoid cotton because you do not want something that absorbs moisture. Other clothings such as gloves should be tight, yet comfortable.

How much does it cost to learn skiing?

A beginner level three hour cross country skiing lessons costs about $100 dollars. While this may seem pricey, this cost includes skis, boots, and poles as well as a first aid kit. A full day with the same benefits will cost about $130.

Purchasing your own cross country skis are definitely on the pricier side, so it is important to make sure you enjoy the sport before you make an investment on them. Skis cost anywhere between $220 and $300. You are also going to need to buy poles which will cost about $40. The binding system and boots will also cost you around $135-$190.

Since you are going to be sweating and falling a lot when you learn cross country, you are going to want nice equipment that will keep you warm and comfortable. A nice hybrid hoodie can cost up to $200, and pants can cost around $100. You can buy clothing for a cheaper price, but the high end gear that will keep you most comfortable will definitely require a significant investment.