Classic, skating, biathlon or nordic cruising, there are a multitude of ways of discovering and practising this sport which can be equally enjoyed on your own or with the family.
We hope, with these 7 good reasons, to convince you to get your long skis on !
1/ A sport accessible to all ages and levels
The primary advantage of cross-country skiing is that, regardless of the style selected, you can tackle it alone from the very first time. The low gradient of slopes makes it less dangerous than its cousin, downhill skiing. It can also be completed alone, within a group or with children.
You do not have to be a ski professional to enjoy it once the basic techniques have been mastered. We recommend you have one or a couple of lessons with an instructor to improve more rapidly.
2/ Very good for your health
Just as good for your health as running, cross-country skiing is less harsh on joints owing to the glide action as there is no impact between the body and ground.
Excellent endurance sport, it is very good for the heart. Long-distance professional skiers are known to have the best VO2 Max* alongside marathon, road bicycle and racewalking athletes! *The VO2 max represents the quantity of oxygen which the body uses within a given time unit. It improves with training.
In terms of muscle structure, cross-country skiing tones and slims the body when completed as an endurance sport and increases the muscle mass of sprinters. An all-encompassing sport which tones both arms and legs and is excellent in terms of replacing running or cycling in winter !
Additionally, the posture adopted during cross-country skiing prevents backache upon your return.
3/ Stay close to nature
The advantage of cross-country skiing is that it is practised in rather wild and isolated areas which allow you to switch off from the everyday. With Nordic walking it is also possible to follow planned routes.
Forget about the ski lifts, the grating of skis on the snow and your breath will set up the rhythm.
What is more, it is a sport where slopes are not as crowded as those of downhill skiing and you will often have the opportunity to ski peacefully.
4/ A recreational sport !
Whether climbing or descending, sledging is the central element to this sport and it is sure to appeal to everybody !
It is common knowledge that a good cross-country skier owes his ability to ski to technique and not strength.
5/ Various styles
Cross-country skiing offers the choice of multiple disciplines:
Skating with the skating movement (just like ice-skating or roller-skating) is easy and fun to learn. When you up the tempo, you will increase your speed and cover kilometres.
The alternative or “classic” as described by cross-country skiers is just as entertaining. It can be carried out across rails with longer skis and underfoot gripping to stop you falling backwards when climbing. Movements used to complete the aforementioned are the closest to walking and consequently, are quite natural.
If you are naturally adventurous and like discovering new things, "off-trail" cross-country skiing can also be fun, an opportunity to come together and easy to get into.
Perfect for exploring large open spaces, you will, without a doubt, get the opportunity to discover red grouse and other animals which can be found during the harsh winter. Do not forget your camera and map!
6/ Comfortable equipment
Tight-fitting clothing, warm gloves and hat, a flask within your flask holder with a small cereal bar, the basic equipment required for a small adventure, regardless of the selected ski style! Discover more about equipment used by cross-country skiers here.
7/ Accessible on a small budget
A significant advantage, cross-country skiing is much less costly than downhill skiing ! Ticket prices are much lower than those of downhill skiing: a daily adult ticket costs in the range of 8 and 12 Euros.
The same can be said for the equipment both when hiring it or purchasing it.