Early morning dawn crests over the mountain top, casting hues of crimson and gold over last nights snow fall, we hold our breaths, captive to the pristine blue sky above. Winter has arrived and we are awaiting first tracks into the virgin snow. Whether strapping on skins in the back country, savoring miles of cross-country trails, enjoying a day at the resort or yearning for the reverberation of heliskiing, there is a type of skiing which best fits your lifestyle and pocketbook.
Much has changed since the discovery of the first ski found in Sweden over 4500 years ago, short and blocky, it was used primarily for transportation and work. The advent of sport skiing became popular during the 1700s when the Norwegians popularized the Telemark ski, or Nordic ski with a binded toe and free heel. It wasn’t until the Europeans discovered steep terrain, chutes and bowls in the Alps that they began developing a fixed foot, known today as the alpine ski.
Cross Country skiing, known as Nordic or XC, attracts families, athletes, and weekend adventurers seeking winter solitude and escape from overcrowded resorts. A drive to the Nordic park finds miles of marked trails that weave through the forest, from rolling mounds to moderate hills, there are options for all abilities and ages. The gear is manageable with narrow skis, soft leathery boots attached only at the toe and fixed length poles; once purchased, your expense is limited to nominal trail fees and transportation. Techniques vary from Classic rhythmic gliding, utilizing the entire body to Skate skiing, similar to rollerblading or ice skating on skis. Without skins, XC skiers rely on “herringboning” to traverse hills, imagine pointing your boots outward and running uphill. As the day ends, families congregate in the Nordic hut where picnic tables and a large fire allow little hands and feet to warm.