Cross-country skiing is one of the Nordic skiing sport family. Winter drives road and mountain bikers to the skating discipline and runners to classic, which has caused significant and unparalleled growth in North America. Classic skiing, the grandfather of XC skiing, has been gliding along for thousands of years. The infant on the snow trails is skate skiing, which is a technique much like skating and originated in the 1970’s. The endurance benefits of both, due to the use of upper body and legs with each execution of movement, can not be matched by any other sport, but can be utilized for cross-training by many other endurance sports athletes. The added benefit is that anyone capable of standing and willing to put in the effort can benefit from this sport; young and old, novice or experienced. Given the relatively very little joint impact (that causes osteoarthritic damage to joints) as experienced with running, there is not much that compares to XC skiing as a life long endeavor.
Common brands of cross-country and skate skis are Fischer, Salomon, Peltonen, and SkiTrab. The skis glide upon the groomed trails providing an advantageous low-impact high-reward exercise. Independent of your age, skill level, or ski brand, you will experience a quality workout as the calories burned per hour in XC skiing tops any endurance sport.
Whether you are doing a loppet, such as The Gatineau Loppet, the American Birkebeiner, the Canadian Birkie, the Vasaloppet, the Birke Birkebeinerrennet, or the Engadin Skimarathon, to name a few, or you want to simply race in mass start weekend club races, you will meet hundreds to thousands of individuals who share similar passions.
So put on your toque, ski gear, and ski boots, and jump into your bindings, placing poles to snow and gliding through the twisting trails of the mountains, the plains, the river valleys, or the local field. Cross-country skiing is the exercise that puts anyone on the road to longevity.