When I first read about Nordic skiing, I thought it might be some Viking thing, and originating as it did 5000 years back, it might well be.
Nordic skiing is also classic skiing and is an active Scandanavian pursuit. It is also prevalent in Canada. It is also cross-country in nature but more so in competitions where conformation to strict rules is mandatory.
Cross-country skiing is exclusively pursued in Scandinavia more as a means of accessible transport over the rolling, hilly terrain, especially in the winter months. It is still prevalent as a combination of recreation and travel. Ski-touring is non-competitive cross-country skiing. Another variant called skating or freestyle, a development in the 70s became popular. Is confusion creeping in? Hang on. There’s Telemark skiing, Biathalon, Nordic combined, Ski mountaineering and so on. So let’s move on.
Alpine Skiing vs Nordic Skiing
The glaring differentiator is that in Alpine skiing, what we non-specialists generally refer to like skiing, the entire foot is bound to the ski, whereas in Nordic skiing, the heel is left free. One may as well ask, what difference does it make? Nordic skiing, being a form of travel, the skier has to go both up and down whereas in Alpine skiing, its downhill all the way.
For Nordic skiing, the skis are longer, narrower and lighter do not have metal edges. The skier uses a longer single pole.
Skis– The choice is the payoff whether your locomotion is kick or grip and the traction achieved. Waxless scores over waxed in those periods when the snow ceases being wet and the days start turning warmer. Skis must be matched to your size and weight.
Boots and Bindings – They are of singular importance made specifically for classic cross-country skiing. They should be well-fitting, comfortable, and tried on with the socks that you will be using. They are expensive but well worth the extra as you will soon discover. The bindings come with the shoes.
Clothing – Your cross-country sojourn will disintegrate into abject misery if you are not clad appropriately. The moisture of your sweat has to get out. Imagine jeans and cotton longjohns and fleece tops; the moisture has nowhere to go and sits there. Your clothes first get soggy, and you start feeling the chill. Then it freezes and makes your clothes stiff, restricting movement. The solution is polyester clothing. It dries fast, breathes and wicks moisture away.
Of course, top-notch clothing would be merino wool socks and sweaters.
The thumb rule is 3 layers; a thin sweater, a fleece top, and a jacket. No cotton, remember. We are talking polyester here.
Gloves – Good, durable and warm
Hemet – Approved and in good condition
Sunglasses – Protection from flying snow and of course, snow glare
An Ode To Skiing
Going Nordic Skiing is a befitting trek on skis, where you get to soak in the sights and sounds. Does that sound like a lazy stroll?
Cross-country skiing is intensely hard work requiring great stamina, building core strength and the best-known forms of cardiovascular training. You can burn close to 600 calories in an hour. In recent times, gyms have invested in these ski-trainers.
Try this experience if you ever get a chance. A basic class is a serious recommendation.