Cross-country skiing/Nordic skiing, Langlauf

Cross-country skiing/Nordic skiing, Langlauf

Posted by admin | 23/09/2016 | cityskier


Cross-country skiing/Nordic skiing or Langlauf is a form of ‘snow travel’ on skis using body movement to propel yourself forwards. Skiers create the movement by either striding forward (classic style) or side-to-side in a skating motion (skate skiing) while using poles to increase movement and work the upper body. It is practised in regions with snow-covered landscapes, including Northern Europe, Canada, Russia and regions in the United States.

Cross-country skiing/Nordic skiing or Langlauf offers an unrivalled cardiovascular workout in snow-covered locations, and can be enjoyed by everyone across the skiing spectrum, from professional skiers to families looking for fun and fitness.


The word ski comes from the Old Norse word “skíð”, meaning stick of wood. It started in Scandinavia almost 5000 years ago as a technique for travelling cross-country over snow, evolving from a practical means of transportation to the recreational activity and competitive sport it is today.


Whether you’ve had experience of skiing or not, it’s suitable for anyone interested in fun, fitness and the great outdoors.


There are 2 types of competitions:

Fis approved competitions: The events held since 1925 for men and 1954 for women. Cross Country skiing races types:

  • 1,4 km – 1,8 km sprint;
  • 6×1,4 km – 1,8 km team sprint;
  • 10 km / 15 km individual race;
  • 15 km / 30 km pursuit;
  • 30 km / 50 km mass start;
  • 4×5 km / 4×10 km relay.

Other competitions:

  • Marathons – races with the distances more the 40 km. Have their own ski cup series called Swix Ski Classic, which began in 2011. Depending on the rules, the skiers’ race in classic or skating events.
  • Biathlon – XC skiing and shooting at a target. For each shooting round, biathlete must hit five targets. for each missed target the skier receives a penalty of skiing an extra stadium long round.
  • Ski orienteering. A form of cross country competition that requires map navigation to make route choices at racing speed.
  • Paralympic ski competition. Cross country skiing competition for athletes with disabilities.


There are two Cross-country/Nordic skiing or Langlauf styles:


This is the original Nordic skiing style. Classic skis have a waxed or textured “kick zone” on the base of the ski under the foot and binding allowing for traction on the snow, enabling the skier to slide forward on undisturbed or tracked (pairs of parallel grooves) snow. With this technique, each ski is pushed forward from the other stationary ski in a striding and gliding motion, alternating foot to foot.

Classic Ski Techniques:

  • Diagonal Stride – this is the first gear in classic skiing and it’s used to build up speed on flats or to ski up steep hills.
  • Double Poling – this is the top gear in classic style skiing and it can be used anywhere as long as you have sufficient strength to use it.
  • Kick Double Poling – this is the second gear in classic style skiing and it can be used on flats against the wind or on slow snow and hills that are not too steep.


This style of skiing dates back to the 1970s and unlike the classic style, it requires a smooth, firm groomed snow surface. The skier creates propulsion by pushing alternating skis away from one another at an angle, in a manner similar to ice skating. See (link to roller ski page) for demonstrations of the five skate ski techniques.

Skate Ski Techniques:

  • Diagonal V Skate (Gear 1) – this is the slowest skating technique step and it’s used to climb in deep snow or up very steep hills.
  • Offset Skate (V1 or Gear 2) – this second gear skating technique is used to accelerate or climb up steep hills.
  • One Skate (V2 or Gear 3) – this third gear skating technique is used when the glide is not great or to ski up hills that are not too steep.
  • Two Skate (V2 Alternate or Gear 4) – this is the fastest skate style technique gear and it’s normally used on flat surfaces to maintain speed.
  • Free Skate (Gear 5) – it can be used to maintain or increase high-speed going downhill.


  • Classic skis
  • Skate skis
  • Boots
  • Bindings
  • Poles


  • It’s a great low-impact activity.
  • You get a full-body workout.
  • It burns more calories than any other exercise or sport.
  • Improves cardiovascular endurance.
  • Improves your overall level of fitness – cross-country skiers are 40 percent fitter than other physically fit individuals.
  • It’s an ideal sport for friends and family.
  • It relieves stress – enjoy the peace and calm of the great outdoors.
  • Improves balance and coordination.


The average elite female cross-country skier carries 11% body fat, and elite male skiers carry 5% compared to average athletes at 17% and 10% respectively.
The FIS Nordic World Ski Championships have been held since 1925 for men and 1954 for women.
Olympic cross-country skiers have resting heart rates between 28 and 40 beats per minute compared to 60 to 80 beats per minute for an average person.
Harrison Schmitt, one of the 1972 Apollo 17 crew, said that cross-country skiing was ideal training for moon walking: using a sliding toe-push technique he reached 7mph, the fastest speed recorded on the lunar surface.
There are prehistoric carvings, more than 7,000 years old, showing Sami and early Nordic people skiing.

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