What’s so special about it?
It’s a full-body exercise involving almost every muscle group. It trains your balance, improves your spatial awareness and gets your heart pumping. At the same time, it’s low-impact and much easier on the joints than sports such as running. It takes skill to master and yet almost anyone can try it out and get that brain-and-body boost. It’s also just really good fun.
That’s right – we’re talking about cross-country skiing. You’re probably familiar with the concept of downhill skiing, cross-country’s more boisterous cousin. We’re big fans of that too, but there’s a lot to be said for the Nordic ski style.
Where did it come from?
Originally, this style of skiing was developed to simply get around. Here in the Fljót valley, where Sóti Lodge is based, residents would be snowed in for months at a time. The only practical way to get around was on skis, but now the sport has developed into something slightly different.
Nowadays, you’ll find cross-country ski trails laid in snowy regions worldwide. They vary in length and difficulty – from loops within the perimeter of a field, to the 300+ mile Catamount Trail in North America.
How do I get involved?
The best way to learn to cross-country ski is to book yourself onto an introductory course, (such as one of our three-day courses based at Sóti Lodge). For many people, learning to ski on flat terrain in set tracks can be a lot less intimidating than being pointed down a hill and hoping your snow plough position works! Moving around on the flat gives you the time and space to really get to grips with the movement and feel of the skis, allowing you to progress and build confidence at your own pace. Once you’ve mastered the basics, you can take your skills to any cross-country track you like. Then, just relax and enjoy the sense of flying through winter wonderlands around the world!
Whilst this type of skiing is very accessible, that’s not to say it can’t be challenging! We’ve already mentioned the Catamount Trail, which can take around 30 days to complete, but there’s also nothing to stop you from taking your skis into tougher, steeper terrain, or maybe getting involved in ski racing.
To sum it all up
Cross-country skiing is an accessible sport with multiple health benefits, and scope to be as relaxed or as challenging as you’d like it to be. It has a rich cultural history and is fantastic fun!