It's possible to incorporate travel and recreation in one activity. Imagine being able to traverse while having fun.
The whole point of going on a journey is to have fun, but some modes of transport have made it dull. Now, there's a new way to do sightseeing, not to mention getting exercise while doing it.
Anybody who has wanted to try out something new on snow will find cross-country skiing to be a fun activity. The best thing about it? The whole family can enjoy it.
Instead of getting in a car and sticking to the road, the entire family can make their way through forests and meet other people who are also on the same course.
The possibilities of exploring while cross-country skiing are endless. Let's delve deeper into what it is and how it can benefit the entire family.
What is Cross-Country Skiing?
Having fun in the snow isn't solely limited to professional skiers or children who get on a sleigh and play in the snow.
Cross-country skiing is a form of skiing that involves skiers using their locomotion to traverse snow-covered terrain. Instead of using ski-lifts or other tools for assistance, skiers embark on cross-country skiing.
Although cross-country is a sport and recreational activity, some people use it as a form of transportation, which we will expand on in the article.
Cross-country skiing is known as "ski touring" in its non-competitive form.
Here's what it entails:
There are two types of cross-country skiing.
Classic-skiing is one, and the other is skate-skiing, which resembles professional skiing.
Skate-skiing is faster than classic-skiing but also requires a person to exert more effort. It requires the skier to have more skills and practice on well-groomed terrains.
Classic-skiing doesn't require as much effort as skate-skiing and entails moving the skis parallel to each other. The drawback is that it's slower than skate-skiing.
Some people might see that as a drawback while others engage in the activity because they are not in a rush and want to bond with their family and friends. It's also a great way to do sightseeing on unusual terrains and stop along the way.
The other perk of doing classic-skiing is that you don't have to do it on well-groomed trails. You can do it on just about any path.
The skis are also different.
They are longer, lighter and narrower than the ones used in mountainous terrain. The other feature that makes them different is that the bindings enable movement between the heel of the boot and the ski. Also, the ski poles are longer than in skate-skiing.
When skiers start with cross-country skiing, they should stick to well-groomed trails. That's not always possible. Once they veer off the groomed trails, they are said to be participating in back-country skiing. That's still considered the classic cross-country skiing, but it involves more effort due to the inhospitable terrain.
If you're going to engage in that type of skiing, make sure to use wider and more rugged skis.
Anybody who engages in cross-country skiing can adopt one of two techniques.
The first one is called the classic technique. With this method, a skier travels with skis parallel and kicks backward to form a gliding motion.
The other technique is freestyle.
This technique is very similar to ice skating. To perform the freestyle, a skier pushes the inside edges of the skis backward and outward. He or she would perform that maneuver at a 45-degree angle. By doing that, the skier would ski faster than the classic method.
How To Start
As we mentioned, you can cross-country ski on any trail (groomed or not), but since you're a beginner, you should stick to trails designed for the activity.
By sticking to the well-groomed trails, it eliminates your worries about wandering off into the woods. Rent the gear and find the designated tracks.
Once you become comfortable walking on skis, you can add some gliding to your technique.
Gliding involves stepping forward and exerting your weight to the front of the ski, thereby compressing the kick zone.
You can use your arms by planting the pole in line with the opposite foot and extending your arms in front of your shoulder. The correct technique requires your arms to swing front-to-back-to-front like pendulums.
Not all parts of the trails will be flat. Some of it will be uphill. To get up the hill, you should turn your feet to make a V with the skis. Then all you have to do is walk up the hill and plant your pole behind your boot.
A Recreational Activity
The two types of recreational cross-country skiing include ski touring and groomed-trail skiing. Most people engage in these activities at resorts or in parklands.
People with vision or mobility impairments can also engage in this recreational activity.
One of the variants of cross-country skiing as a recreational activity is dog skijoring. You've probably seen this in movies. It's when a cross-country skier receives assistance from one or more dogs to traverse across snowy terrains.
The best part about cross-country skiing is that you get an upper and lower body exercise by engaging in the activity.
Don't underestimate this activity, as your muscles will quickly give out if you haven't done this a few times. When you're starting, you should limit the activity to short-distance trails. The last thing you want to do is to embark on a long trail and be fatigued at the half-way mark.
Unlike skate-skiing, classic skiing allows you to stay close to the rest of your group. That's why it's perfect for families. Everybody can do it at the same pace and provide support for the member who falls behind.
What makes this form of skiing unique is that even children can partake and adults don't have to be professional skiers. It not only helps to improve your skiing technique but also your cardiovascular fitness, strength, and balance.
Cross-country skiing has several health benefits.
The first one is a low-impact activity. Traversing on the pavement has a tremendous impact on your joints. Once you get old, your joints stiffen. The great thing about cross-country skiing is that it has a low impact on your joints.
It's also therapeutic. Leaving the hustle and bustle of a busy town to escape into the forest provides a person with therapeutic peace and time to think.
It does wonders for your heart and lungs, too. Since cross-country skiing targets a multitude of muscle groups and is low impact, you can do it for prolonged periods at a reasonable intensity.
Don't forget about the improvement to your endurance. One of the benefits of training in this slow, stable environment is that it supports your muscles, helping you to get stronger and enabling you to go on for longer.
Anytime that you're tired, you can inform the rest of the group to stop. The other benefit of traversing with your group is that the pace allows for sightseeing and stopping to take pictures.
Not only is cross-country skiing a great way to get a complete body workout, but it also allows you to bond with family and friends while having fun and exploring new terrains.
Mode Of Transport
Before people used cars and horse carts, they made use of cross-country skiing. The practice was called "ski warfare," which was the use of ski-equipped troops in a war. The first sightings of that were in the 13th century.
The military wasn't the only one to deploy the tactic of traversing by cross-country skiing.
Around 1836, Norwegian immigrants used cross-country skiing in the US Midwest. Believe it or not, a Norwegian immigrant used cross-country skiing to deliver mail.
In the early days, around the late 18th century, Norwegian workers used cross-country skiing as a means to get to work.
Even today, those who live in rural areas will sometimes use skis to avoid the road and take a shorter path to the shops in winter. People who have rented out cottages on mountains in winter will also engage in cross-country skiing to get to the top instead of using cars or ski lifts.
One of the things that make cross-country skiing so appealing is that you don't have to be an expert skier to do it. Also, you can do it at your own pace, with family and friends.
Cross-country skiing allows you to absorb nature while getting some of the most magnificent views from mountains. There's no need to rush when you're cross-country skiing.
The other perk about this activity is that it works your entire body while having a low impact on your joints. It improves endurance so that all your muscles are stronger and can last longer when engaged in physical activities.
Although cross-country skiing was used many years ago as a mode of transport, it's still an option today. If you want to avoid ski lifts and would rather explore fascinating trails to get to your mountain cottage this cross-country skiing is the way to go.
With so many benefits to be gained from cross-country skiing, what's stopping you from getting involved?