As the resident newbie to Nordic skiing here at Gear West (I learned to ski in the winter of 2013) I was tasked with coming up with 8 things people don’t tell you when you start nordic skiing.
#1 There is a difference between Classic and Skate. If you are surprised that people could be that dense, you’ve been skiing for too long. All non-skiers know about us is that we attached long pieces of wood to our feet...
#2 Skate skiing is NOT running. The first three times I attempted to skate ski the only forward progress I made was falling on my face. I’d stand up (or at least attempt to) and then fall on my face a little bit further along the trail. What I wish people had told me? DON’T pick up your knees... also it’s a lot easier on your knees.
#3 Boot fit matters! When I started skiing I got the cheapest pair of combi boots I could find. That was not fun, especially with terrible technique. Nowadays when I am picking a new boot I literally try on every single option possible. Comfort is king!
#4 Even though it is cold outside, you are going to sweat. Wear a lightweight wicking baselayer. Craft, Smartwool, SWIX all have great options.
#5 You are going to sweat. Stay hydrated, get an insulated water bottle of some kind and don’t resort to eating the snow, especially at Hyland.
#6 What is the deal with all the different bindings: NNN, SNS, Prolink, 3 Pin, Profil, Turnamatic. Why are they different, why can’t we just have one system; oh, we are moving in that direction?
#7 Wax matters! To what degree depends on your goals. Doing the Birkie? Hopefully you have the skills of a witch, chemist, and master carpenter.
#8 15 degrees F is not cold - if fact, if there’s no wind, it’s about as perfect as it gets. You don’t overheat and skis glide beautifully at that temp. A lot colder, skis drag. When it gets above freezing they bog down in the soft snow.
Note: Corey Towle is a Prince Haakon Champion!