Training

Where to Ski

Unlike downhill skiing, You don't need to travel to a fancy resort to participate in cross-country skiing. As long as snow is on the ground, you can find a place nearby to ski, even if it means sneaking out onto a golf course or going to a public park. Trails used for running and hiking during the summer make great places for skiing during the winter. Here's where to ski:

Golf courses: Not all golf courses welcome outsiders. Many are fenced to keep people off the fairways, a necessary precaution for both the privacy of the golfers and the safety of others. But in winter, you are more likely to gain access to courses that might be closed to you at other times of the year. I frequently ski on a private golf course near my home, and I am not alone in doing so. One advantage of golf course skiing is that, because of their smooth and grassy surface, you only need an inch or so of snow to ski on them.

Public parks: Most cities have parks with trails used by runners and hikers during the warm-weather months. Rural areas have county, state and national parks. With snow on them, these trails are perfect for skiing. Being out of the sun, the snow on them lasts longer. With trees around, you will be protected from the wind while skiing. Some parks groom the trails and offer rental equipment; most do not. In my area, I often ski on the open trails of the Dunes National Lakeshore.

Nordic Centers: Parks in northern areas of the U.S. where snow is frequent and deep often respond to public demand by establishing Nordic Centers. They groom the trails, packing them and setting tracks. They also rent equipment and often provide instruction. If you want to begin the sport right, go to a Nordic Center. The small amount you will pay for a starter lesson will be your best investment in becoming a cross-country skier. Nordic Centers usually charge a Trail Fee (up to $10 a day) for the use of their facilities. This is money well spent.

Downhill resorts: Increasingly, downhill ski resorts have begun to both add cross-country skiing to their activity mix or improve existing Nordic Centers. This is out of recognition that many of their downhill customers enjoy cross-country skiing as well. One advantage in  selecting a downhill resort as your vacation destination is the availability of good rooms and restaurants plus a Winter Vacation ambiance. Resorts such as Crystal Mountain, Shanty Creek and Boyne Mountain in Northern Michigan have great Nordic Centers attached with 30 kilometers or more of superbly designed trails. Crested Butte, Winter Park and Copper Mountain in Colorado are resorts that take cross-country skiing seriously. Other resorts such as Big Sky in Montana, Lake Tahoe in California or Mont Ste. Anne in Quebec have excellent Nordic facilities nearbyBut not all downhill resorts give cross-country skiing equal respect. Ask before you go.

As a beginning cross-country skier, you may want to confine your early efforts to near your home. Eventually, as you learn to love the sport, you will begin planning vacation trips to Nordic ski areas. (See: Destinations.).

Getting Started Ski Technique In Full Stride
Introduction Moving Forward Destinations
Conditioning Going Uphill Racing
Equipment Going downhill Nutrition
Where to Ski Turning Snowshoes
Two Techniques Stopping Downhill Skiing