Mountain Blog

Cross Country Skills Ward Off Chills

Nancy Story - Tuesday, March 04, 2014


Sure, we’ve been swept up in the middle of a polar vortex this winter. But the answer to staying warm outside lies on the backside of the mountain, home to our Nordic trail network. Chairlifts make you sit still, but with cross country skiing, you’re always on the move with your own motor.  Don’t make the frigid weather your excuse to stay indoors. There’s been no better winter yet for superlative snow and trail conditions - so take advantage of the warmth factor of Nordic skiing.  The better you are, the warmer you’ll be. Greg Babinec, one of our Nordic ski instructors, offers these tips to take advantage of the sport that keeps you warm in Arctic temperatures:

“Lose the poles to improve your technique. Whether you are a classic xc skier or a skater, a great practice drill will start with leaving the poles at home.  For classic skiers, this will help you become more aware of the timing required between the moment the kick zone is engaged to the forward movement of the trailing ski. A good exercise for this is to do a series of three strides in the tracks. On the third stride, emphasize the engagement of the kick zone along with a more aggressive forward motion when bringing the trailing ski forward. On each third count, you’ll be able to concentrate the motion first on one ski, and then the other. See how long you can hold your balance during the glide phase of each stride before starting the next sequence of three strides.

With both styles of Nordic, classical and skating, improving one’s balance on one ski at a time is the key to rapid improvement. During your next skate ski session,  get started with no poles and use an exaggerated arm swing in the same direction as the glide ski. An aggressive arm swing from side to side in time with each ski will help improve your feeling for the gliding motion necessary to skate effectively. Always remember to get your nose and knee over your glide ski, and keep the ski as flat on the ground as possible until you are ready to change skis and glide in the other direction. This is known as a free skate with no poles.”  

 The real lesson here is that you can beat the chill of downhill by heading over to the backside of the mountain. Cross country lessons are available daily by calling extension 4000. 


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