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Cross country skiing ?

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Cross country skiing ?

Postby visentin » Sun Dec 12, 2010 8:57 pm

Hi nordic SPers,

Given the amounts of snow fallen very early this year, I'm looking for a sport activity that could keep me busy during the non-cycling winter, and I'm thinking more and more about trying cross country skiing. Equipment is not too expensive here in Poland, and the surroundings of the place I live make a perfect flat terrain.
I think I would start with the classic pace, however I'm not sure I wouldn't be curious to try one day the "skating pace", but I guess it involves buying a second shorter pair.
I also wonder if for the classic pace I should risk trying myself the waxing preparation (technical stuff I read) or just buy some with "fish scale" surface.
Does anyone practice it ? What would you recommend for a beginner ?
Thanks !
Eric
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Re: Cross country skiing ?

Postby ZeeJay » Mon Dec 13, 2010 3:30 am

I have several pairs of x-country skis that I use depending upon what the conditions are, both waxable and waxless. If it is below freezing, on not too steep terrain, waxable skis with a not too precise application of wax are much faster and more fun to use than waxless. Waxing is pretty easy if the weather is cold, but if it is above freezing, then the wax that must be used is sticky, messy, and hard to clean up and then I go for the waxless.

If you want to go fast, then waxing is the only way to go. If you just want to get some exercise and get out the door quick, then waxless might suit you better.
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Re: Cross country skiing ?

Postby edl » Mon Dec 13, 2010 4:13 am

Like ZeeJay said, waxed skis if waxed properly are faster and more fun. However, as a beginner I'd recommend waxless. That just simplifies thing a bit until you're more comfortable on skis.

Also as a beginner, don't focus on the skis too much. Any good quality waxless ski will work just fine for you. Boots are more important. A bad fitting pair of boots will ruin your day, so be ready to spend a bit more on good fitting boots.

Start with classic stride, then move on to skating.

Have fun. X-country is a great sport and fantastic exercise.
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Re: Cross country skiing ?

Postby edl » Mon Dec 13, 2010 4:33 am

Also, if you can, trying renting before buying. Rentals are usually really cheap and you can try a couple pairs of boots and skis. Also, take a lesson from an instructor your first time. Classic stride is pretty easy to learn on your own, but an hour with an instructor would help you learn faster.
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Re: Cross country skiing ?

Postby visentin » Mon Dec 13, 2010 7:46 am

Thanks JeeZay and EDL.

ZeeJay wrote:If you want to go fast, then waxing is the only way to go. If you just want to get some exercise and get out the door quick, then waxless might suit you better.


Well, the kind of activity I'm seeking the most is rather the second one. Besides, given the fact we have a baby, I have little space at home to put a ski-waxing installation, which might be a second reason to choose waxless...
As for the lessons and instructor, I'm also considering it ...
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Re: Cross country skiing ?

Postby foweyman » Mon Dec 13, 2010 9:28 am

I agree with most of the points that have been made so far. Just a few additions:

It sounds like you aren't planning to ski on prepared tracks, in which case skating is not really an option (although occasionally there are naturally occurring conditions that allow skating).

Although it is easier and faster to skate in skating skis and boots, it's certainly possible to skate in classic equipment.

Waxing works well under consistent conditions, but waxless skis are better if you are likely to encounter mixed or changing conditions on the same trip. For example, it is difficult to apply the right wax if you are likely to encounter cold new powder in the woods, sticky slush in the sun, and old icy crud in shady windblown areas.

Although the pros have a large workbench and stand for applying wax, a recreational skier can easily get by with less.
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Re: Cross country skiing ?

Postby visentin » Mon Dec 13, 2010 9:54 am

Thanks again for pointing this too. If I understand well, one more reason to choose waxless.
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Re: Cross country skiing ?

Postby BigMitch » Tue Dec 14, 2010 1:40 am

I have about 8 pairs of nordic skis ranging from racing classic and skate skis to waxless and waxable touring skis.

As a beginner, I also recommend waxless touring skis to you. I bought waxable classic touring skis first and wasted much time on them trying to learn how to match the wax to the conditions.

With waxless skis, just stick to snow that has not warmed up above freezing and you should do ok. If you go on snow that has turned into ice, then your waxless skis won't grip. You can then apply klister to get them to grip.

If you don't have snow, you can always roller ski.
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visentin

Re: Cross country skiing ?

Postby visentin » Sun Jan 30, 2011 8:48 pm

So, i tried today. I went to Jakuszyce, the most popular place in my region for that.
Few conclusions :
- That was damn beautiful in winter... just for that I don't regret my trip, despite :
- I am tired like a dog
- Despite my technique slightly improved between the start and the end, I have the slight feeling I am not going as fast as I should. I am not an iron-man but I definitely have a fitter condition than kids and grandmas... which was not always verified, thus despite I went further and higher than most people during the day.
- I wonder if this is due to the fact I'm the only one using fish-scale skis ? Do they all have the waxed ones ? even when going down, when others just had to let it go, I had to push.
- For sure I took too many clothes. It was damn cold in the morning but later I quickly removed them all and packed in the rucksack... which, also was perhaps too heavy with unuseful stuff.
- Cross-Country skiing is a nice way to visit mountains, in the condition that there is not a too high elevation difference and steady gradient. Gory Izerskie are the perfect place for that, but there are not so many such flat and high areas in polish mountains, which makes the choice not so wide... I definitely gave up my fantasms of exploring the rest of the Sudetes in winter this way. I can ski on the shores of the Oder in Wroclaw, like some people I sometimes see, but good snow conditions do not occur often in town...
- I think I will not buy them, well for the moment. For 30zl the whole set (7,5 euros) I can rent them each time...
- I will try again !
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