And you don’t necessarily need to head out to a resort! (unless you live somewhere sunny. Poor, sunny you).
Cross country skiing is a serious winter workout. Not only is it a calorie scorcher (up to 1000 calories per hour depending on your body/intensity), but it’s total body heaven. It’ll target your shoulders chest, abs, arms, back, butt, shoulders and legs (those poles are serious work!) while giving you a serious cardio burn. If you’re an avid skiier, add uphill intervals to turn up the burn!
1. Keep your arms pulled in tight to your body and move them like you’re on train tracks. Imagine there’s a beachball between your arms, and drive the poles down as you go.
2. Avoid over-rotating your torso. Try to keep your hips facing in the direction of your movement and avoid twisting your shoulders. 3. Try to go with a friend who’s a bit more experienced. They can help with things like stride, positioning and putting the equipment on. Don’t pick a friend who’s super competitive: try to choose someone with a little more patience.
4. Dress appropriately! You’ll get pretty sweaty AND it’s cold! Wear warm socks, base pants, water proof pants, something long and fleecy on top and a lightweight jacket. Mittens, a scarf and a hat are a must!
5. Don’t forget sunscreen and sunglasses if you need them. It’s best to get a pair that fit tightly, or have a band you can wear around your head: stopping to pick them up or find them in the snow is annoying.
6. Start out short and sweet. If you’re a beginner, your body is going to be moving in all kinds of new ways. It’s not a race: have a good time, pace yourself and start with shorter trails.
7. Try to pick a fresh-snowy day! Fresh snow is easier to glide on. Also, don’t try downhill slopes until you’ve mastered how to STOP.
8. Don’t forget to bring a travel bag with you so you can carry water, snacks, keys etc. Mountainsmith has a line of small shoulder and lumbar packs (like big fanny packs that are like a small purse) that are quite popular with skiers (they’re also made from 100% recycled bottles; 4 bottles were used to make each bag).
If you live in a winter-fit city, it’s likely that you have trails available to you somewhere nearby. Many parks have open trails and ski rental is fairly cheap ($10-$20 an hour). If you’re heading out to a trail without rentals, visit a sports/recreation store beforehand.
Have fun and don’t try anything from the video below!