Top Tips for Mastering Cross Country Skiing

If you’re looking to stay in shape this winter and try something new, cross-country skiing is a sport worth exploring. As you navigate snow-covered terrain, you’ll be getting a full-body workout, engaging your muscles from head to toe.

Unlike downhill skiing where gravity does most of the work for you, Cross-country skiing requires you to put in the work by relying on your physical strength to keep you moving. (Think, powerful strides).

Not only is this winter sport good for the body, but it’s a great way to keep the mind in shape by boosting ‘feel-good’ hormones during the darker months. Goodbye, Winter blues!

From strengthening your core to increasing lung power, Cross-country skiing will keep the dreaded winter weight gain at bay.

Here, Danielle Dorrie, registered Maine recreational guide and owner of Skyline Maine Adventures who has been passionate about Cross-country skiing for over a decade, shares her top tips to get you blazing the snowy trails all winter long!

Cross Country Ski Gear left out in the snow
Photo by Samuel Ferrara on Unsplash

Cross-Country Ski Gear Checklist

You don’t need a lot of gear to have a successful skiing season. However, Dorrie recommends renting gear (such as skis) until you’re comfortable.

The Checklist:

  • Cross-country skis
  • Cross-Country Ski boots
  • Cross-Country Ski Poles
  • Appropriate clothing (“Layers are key,” explains Dorrie.)
  • Sunscreen and sunglasses
  • A trail pass or access to a cross-country skiing location
Professional cross country skiiers competing in a cross country ski competition
Photo by Martine Jacobsen on Unsplash

Pro Tips for Landing the Best Techniques

When it comes to cross-country skiing, proper form, and practice are just a few of the important factors that will make or break your cross-country skiing experience. Here, Dorrie shares important tips on how to get the best out of this popular Winter sport.

Good to Know: If you are serious about getting into the sport, you may want to work with a qualified instructor. This will give you hands-on learning when it comes to mastering form and technique.

  1. Get comfortable with your gear.
  2. Practice gliding on flat terrain.
  3. Learn the basic diagonal stride.
  4. Master the snowplow for braking.
  5. Practice uphill and downhill techniques.
  6. Work on your balance and posture.
  7. Explore groomed trails at your own pace.
  8. Continue learning and improving.

Pro Tips for Beginner Cross Country Skiing

  • Start with easy, groomed trails.
  • Focus on technique before speed.
  • Dress in layers to stay warm and regulate body temperature.
  • Always carry essential safety equipment.
  • Respect trail etiquette and other skiers.

Cross Country Skier Safety Tips for the Best Experience:

  • Don’t overdress; sweating excessively can make you cold.
  • Avoid walking on your skis; glide instead.
  • Don’t forget to wax or maintain your skis for proper gliding.
  • Avoid hunching over; maintain an upright posture.
  • Don’t go off-trail without proper navigation and gear.

“Safety is paramount. Always inform someone about your skiing plans, carry a map, and have an emergency kit with you, says Dorrie. As with any new adventure or sport, Dorries encourages you to start slowly, be patient with yourself, and enjoy the beauty of your state’s winter wonderland. “Cross-country skiing is not just a sport; it’s a wonderful way to connect with nature and embrace the serene landscapes of your local land. Have fun exploring the trails!”

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