Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Nordic/Cross-country Skiing Primer

For our friend Richard:

Here’s the nordic skiing primer. The gear list is not what you need just to swish around the local golf course. Rather, it’s a set of equipment that you could collect over time to ensure that you will be warm (comfortable) and safe on a longer tour, say up near the cabin. Some of it you probably already have, most of the rest of it you can find at a thrift store eventually. Most of the items on the list will make your swishing about on the local groomed track more comfortable.

Optimum Gear List for a full day tour
  • skis
  • ski boots
  • ski poles
  • minimal oh-shit/first aid kit
    • duct tape
    • gauze
    • matches
    • lighter
    • compass
    • shoelace
    • ibuprofin
    • benadril
    • emergency foil bivy
    • sharp knife
    • headlamp with spare batteries
    • moleskin
    • whistle
    • bandana
    • iodine water purification tabs
  • heavy weight wool socks
  • warm gloves
  • thin liner gloves - wool
  • warm mittens
  • warm hat
  • headband
  • balaclava/face gaitor/good scarf
  • wicking baselayer top and bottom
  • fleece - spare layer, not necessary if your never really get cold
  • snow pants-Active layer
  • lightweight shell jacket-Active layer
  • warm puffy coat - sit-on-your-tush layer
  • sunglasses
  • chapstick
  • backpack
  • 2 liters water
  • energy bars/snacks

I wasn’t super happy with the tutorial videos online. This one’s OK:

The basic goal of cross country skiing is to glide as far as possible with each kick/pole thrust. Choose a foot to push off with. Press the ball of that foot firmly against the snow (to engage the grippy part of the ski) and push off with it. At the same time, push off with the pole in your opposite hand. As you surge forward (hopefully) pause with the leg you didn’t kick with slightly forward, knee bent, and let both skis glide for a foot or two. Then shuffle the back foot forward and kick with the other leg.

You should always push with the opposite pole from the foot you kick with. Try to use your poles to propel you forward, not simply to keep you upright.

This is a good image of your body position right after you kick
Notice that the rear ski lifted off the ground a bit at the end of the kick, almost like following through with a golf swing. Also notice that the tip of her front pole is in line with her front boot, ready to propel her forward, rather then out in front of her body.

This rhythm of cross-body motor skills takes most people more then five minutes to perfect. Plan on not covering a whole lot of ground your first time and working on getting a kick that sticks every time, a long glide, and a smooth transition to your next kick.

Resources near Fort Collins:

The Mountain Shop in Fort Collins has very reasonable rental prices. I would go there first to find out about where to ski.

Cameron Pass nordic trails near Red Feather

Free snowshoe day at RNMP with REI

Fort Collins REI rents nordic ski gear. Probably an OK place to inquire about where to ski.

Full Moon Ski & Snowshoe
Feb 19, 201105:00 pm - 08:00 pm
Eldora Nordic Center
Join us and enjoy x-country skiing or snowshoeing under the stars in the full moon light. Trails will be lit with moonlight and flashlights!
$5 trail pass for 5pm-8pm; $15 x-country ski rentals; $10 snowshoe rentals; $1 hot chocolate.
Bring a headlamp in case it's cloudy. Call 303-440-8700 ext 267 for further details.

Have FUN! Call us with questions.

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