XC Skiing – any tips?

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  • XC Skiing – any tips?
  • Premier Icon bratty
    Subscriber

    Well, I am finally in the position to do some this winter, so I need the kit, and have to learn how to do it. I want to do trips of up to 2 hours to begin with on, and not always on prepared trails.

    So what style should I do? Back country or Nordic etc? and how shouzld I learn?

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    Same as we learn anything these days. Google and youtube 🙂

    Kit – depends where you are and what you are going to do.

    Technique – it’s like sliding over a polished wooden floor in your socks. But remember to lead with the hip.

    Where are you?

    Premier Icon matt_outandabout
    Subscriber

    XC Skiing – any tips?

    If you wear a skinsuit, shove a pair of socks down to offset cold ‘shrinkage’…

    MrNutt
    Member

    neither, its awful, all the rubbish bits of Skiing plus handicapped walking in 4ft powder thrown in for good measure.

    If you’re going somewhere that offers cross country skiing it either has:

    1) No hills
    2) Too many people on the good bits
    3) No good bits
    4) Is popular with those who prefer “the angry ****”

    Best avoid anyone who suggests that you do it, they clearly don’t like you and are planning on dropping out at the very last minute so that they can enjoy going to the pub and telling everyone “…yes! he’s gone cross country skiing! oh his own! hahahaha!”

    Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

    Premier Icon bratty
    Subscriber

    I’ll be in E Germany, so quite a few proper tracks are about but will be quite a few miles away, but I fancy being able to scoot off the beaten track as conditions allow / the mood takes me as I think that I will be able to head off into snowy if flattish woodlands once the winter comes.

    As for whether it is crap or not, I will not be near anywhere offering downhill, and anyway, I am a xc mtber, so enjoy going up, down the hills and on the flat, but I wont be wearing lycra though

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    I bloody love XC skiing 🙂 Walking in poweder might havebeen your experience, mine was zipping around beautiful icy forests with ease whilst getting a really satisfying workout.

    There’s a wide spectrum of types of skiing, ranging from groomed narrow trails to mountain powder, and corresponding kit to suit.

    In Finland there were loads of groomed trails and everyone used the really narrow racing style skis which were cheap as chips if you got the £99 halfords bike equivalent. Perfectly decent though.

    In the US people seem to go for wider skis with a side cut and an edge, not as fast but more usable on non groomed trails. Basically, the more wilderness and mountain you go, the more the skis become like DH skis. Your local shop will advise, they’ll know what their local trails and snow is like.

    Premier Icon cobrakai
    Subscriber

    On cut trails I actually enjoy it. Brilliant for the fitness and it can be very peaceful, especially at night. Just remember heed torch! Thing about cut trail skiing, the ski’s are designed solely for them. Very thin and pointless for anything else. If you use fatter touring/back country skis on the trails you’ll widen them and piss off the local’s.

    If you’re financially able, buy them, but for an all round package get a set of touring skis and fit them with telemark bindings. You can get 2nd hand tele gear relatively cheap. With that set up you wont (or shouldn’t) use cut trails, but then your not restricted to where you can go. Just get a local map and go for a walk, just like you would with an OS and your bike. They’re also good on piste. I’m on Rossignol B2’s with 7tm bindings and they’re brilliant. Good all rounder set up.

    As for progression, start off on the flat walking backwards and forwards and you’ll find your centre of balance. When moving forward the best tip I got was imagine you are pushing a football with your big toe, not kicking it. Practicing this, you will eventually get the efficient “gliding finn” posture.

    If you do start touring about, depending on the gradient you may need to invest in skins. If it’s generally flat get some wax.

    “every day is a purple day”

    Pigface
    Member

    Correct wax is vital, we didnt know this and spent 10 minutes trying to get up a slope and sliding back down. Heard a stifled giggle behind us and a small crowd of Finns were watching us rocking with laughter. We got out of their way and they just flew up this hill, one of them stopped to give us some hints and tips 😆

    Premier Icon cobrakai
    Subscriber

    I got a bit geeky about sussing out temperature and whether we were in or out of the tree line so I could pick the correct wax until my instructor told me to stop being a **** and uttered the famous words known to many,

    “every day is a purple day”

    Bratty, there is shed loads of different colours of wax for different snow conditions. Purple wax covers from -15 to +5, hence the phrase.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    I spent a lot of time researching wax. It paid off 🙂

    Premier Icon cobrakai
    Subscriber

    Yeh I got obsessive. Anything to make life easier and strike the balance between glide and grip. I then spent more time touring so just stuck some purple in my pooch!

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    The best thing I did was figure out exactly where my kick zone needed to be – and put decent wax on that. The glide part was less important, but it did make a difference. If the fun is in the glide, then you want to get it right.

    You wouldn’t want to go road riding with 26×1.9″ slicks would you?

    Pigface
    Member

    Going around corners on cut tracks can be “interesting” 😳

    Premier Icon cobrakai
    Subscriber

    True. I’m all up in air at moment with kit though. My mate is trying to sell me S7’s with a set of pre cut skins. Problem is they’ve already been drilled out twice and I dont know if the structure of the ski will be goosed if I have to re-drill them for my bindings 😕

    The B2’s were 2nd hand 5years ago so need to move on.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    Yeah you just have to hope that the curve isn’t too sharp 🙂

    What’s more interesting is when the terrain becomes to steep and you start going too fast so you have to snowplough.. which on skis with no edge is a little difficult 🙂

    Premier Icon bratty
    Subscriber

    When I look at kit, there is the classic and the skating set up – which would be best for a newbie?

    Premier Icon cobrakai
    Subscriber

    Just lift one ski out and angle it. 🙂

    mrmo
    Member

    What’s more interesting is when the terrain becomes to steep and you start going too fast so you have to snowplough.. which on skis with no edge is a little difficult

    what is even more interesting is when you crash and find you have a 2m long plank of wood firmly locked to your foot. does wonders for your knee.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    Skating is lovely, I’d rather do that than classic, but it only really works on groomed trails I think.

    Premier Icon sweaman2
    Subscriber

    So good advice above. Skating only works on groomed (i.e hard packed) trails that have a skating lane (about 6ft wide). So it is pretty limiting especially if you want to go off the beaten track a bit.

    If you are starting in from scratch I’d recommend some nordic touring boots and skis. But as said above avoid racer style groomed trails as you’ll annoy everyone else. Something like this. will be usable in tracks and on harder snow outside groomed areas.

    It is worth getting them fitted though as you need a ski that works for your height / weight.. the middle of the ski has a “wax pocket” so when (with the correct wax as alluded to above) you push on the ski the wax pocket contacts the snow and gives you some kick.. as you unweight the ski the pocket is not on the snow and the rest of the ski gives you the glide…
    Too flexible a ski and the pocket always hits the snow = no glide
    Too stiff a ski and pocket never hits the snow = no kick

    My advice would be to go a local shop in E. Germany and see what they are using / ask them for advice.. Good technique makes a huge difference

    Edukator
    Member

    Roller blade, roller blade a lot.

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