Cross country skiing is a fun and gratifying activity that offers a perfect excuse to get outside and get moving during the cold months of winter. Beginners to the sport often feel overwhelmed by all their options, but it’s easier than they might think to get started. Read on to learn the basics.

How to Find the Right Gear

It’s very important for beginners to start out with high-quality, well-fitted Cross Country Ski gear. To buy the right gear, newcomers to the sport must first decide if they want to buy skating or classic skis. Classic skis are wax less and feature fishtails to help grip the snow while skating skis are typically waxed.

Both types of skis require specialized boots, which should offer a supportive and comfortable fit. The boots are attached to the bindings, which hold them onto the skis, by a bar beneath the toe. Purchasing correctly fitted boots and skis is the best way to ensure that beginners have a good first trip out on the snow.

In addition to skis and boots, cross country skiers also need poles. The poles should be long enough that the top of the grip rests between the user’s armpit and the middle of his or her shoulder while standing in the boots on flat surfaces. Most are adjustable, so make sure to get the height just right before strapping on those skis.

How to Get into Skis

Once future cross-country skiers have all their gear lined up, there’s still one more step to take before heading for the trails. Newcomers to the sport need to learn how to get into their skis. They may want to try it out on the snow right outside the house first before packing up the gear.

Start by placing the skis in a parallel position on the snow. Next, clear any snow or dirt from the bottom of one ski boot, then line it up so the toe is behind the bumper on the binding and step down. When the boot ski produces an audible click, the boot is locked in place. Follow the same process to get the other ski on. To remove the skis, just release the binding and lift up the balls of the feet.

How to Use Pole Straps

Cross country skiing poles feature a long shaft with a grip on one end and a basket with a tip on the other. They also feature pole straps on the grip end. Don’t underestimate how useful these straps can be. They’re there to allow skiers to relax their hands and release some of the tension on their grips without worrying about losing the poles, and without them, cross country skiing can take a surprising toll on the hands. To fit the straps, just move the hand up from the bottom through the strap and grab the pole.

It’s Time to Get Started

Now that newcomers to cross country skiing have all the right gear and know how to use it, it’s time for them to hit the trails. It’s always best to find a more experienced skier willing to teach the ropes. There are many techniques for navigating flat vs hilly or rougher terrain, and having someone there to share knowledge and point out mistakes can be very helpful.