Cross Country Skiing

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Cross Country Skiing Essay, Research Paper

Cross-Country skiing is a sport and technique of traveling over

snow-covered surfaces with the feet attached to long, narrow

runners known as skis. The skis distribute the skier’s weight

over a larger area, preventing the skier from sinking into the

snow. Three kinds of skiing have developed: Alpine, Nordic,

and Freestyle. Alpine, or downhill, skiing is movement down

steep slopes; in races, victory is decided by elapsed time.

Nordic, or Cross-Country, skiing, is movement over relatively

level surfaces; racing involves covering short and long,

prearranged courses in the shortest time. An important

subcategory of Nordic ski races is ski jumping, movement

down a vertical surface (called a ski jump); the distance

jumped and the skier’s flight are evaluated. Since the 1980s

freestyle skiing, for fun and in competition, has become



The basic equipment, although varies somewhat, is essentially

similar for all types of skiing. Skis are made of strips of

shaped wood, metal, or synthetic material that can be attached

to a specially designed ski boot; the hard resistant surface of

the skis, maintained by application of special ski waxes,

produces high speed in moving over packed snow. Skis vary in

length according to the skier’s height and can reach 1.8 to

2.1 m (6 to 7 ft) long. Ski width also varies, from 7 to 10 cm

(3 to 4 in) in the front, tapering slightly inward in the middle

and widening at the rear; the front tip of the ski curves upward.

Downhill skis are shorter and wider than cross-country skis.

Flat-soled, ankle-high boots are an important item of equipment;

rigid leather and plastic boots are used for downhill skiing

and lighter, more flexible boots, with nylon or leather uppers,

for cross-country. The downhill boot is attached to the ski by a

binding that clips at the heel and toe and affords flexibility

and safety in the event of a fall. The cross-country boot

attaches to the ski by a toe binding, leaving the heel free

to flex up and down for the kickoff step. Ski poles,

commonly 1.2 to 1.5 m (4 to 5 ft) in length, are used for

balance and for movement; they are made of light metal tubing,

with handgrips, straps and a small disk at the bottom that

allows a firm hold in the snow.

Cross-Country Skiing

Cross-country (Nordic) skiing places greater emphasis on

endurance and strength, with less of an emphasis on speed.

Although, in competitions, the average time for a 15-km

(9-mi) race is about 50 minutes; for the longer course of

48 km (30 mi) or so, a time of 2 hours, 45 minutes is

regularly achieved. Conventional distances to be covered

vary from 5 to 50 km (3 to 30 mi) or more in length. Courses

are distinguished with colored markers, so that competitors

can follow the same approximate route. Altitude variations

are modest because the essential movement is horizontal

and not vertical.

Historically, cross-country racing developed out of the need

for a mode of transportation. In its non-competitive aspects,

it is a sport in which old and young alike may participate.

Although not well adapted to heavily wooded areas, cross-

country is practicable throughout the world and, unlike

alpine skiing, does not depend on special slopes,

mechanical ski tows, and the use of artificial snow. The

fundamental cross-country stride combines a kickoff step with

one foot and a gliding step with the other. These steps

alternate smoothly and rapidly; the ski pole in one hand is

planted down as the opposite leg begins its kickoff. Several

variations to this basic stride allow for upward and downward

movement and necessary maneuverability and provide for some

degree of rest from continuous exertion. In the skating

technique, developed in the 1980s, a skier moves in a

side-to-side motion, pushing off on the inside of the ski.


To ensure easy movement over the snow, skier’s rub an

application of special non-friction ski waxes. This allows

them to slide easily and effortlessly over the snow. Without

wax skiing would be difficult and tedious, and only slow

speeds could be obtained during perfect weather conditions.

Waxes for Cross-Country skiing are designed for different

temperatures, and weather conditions. For example a wax

could be designed for: Temperatures below -20, from -10 to

-20, or above -10; Warm and slushie conditions, or cold and

icy conditions.

To apply ski wax, you find the desired wax according to

weather conditions. You then rub the wax on the bottom

side of the ski, making sure to cover all of it. Then to

smooth the wax to on the ski you rub the surface with a

wooden cork-like material. going over everywhere you


History of Skiing

The use of some kind of equipment for travel over snow

is ancient. Greek historians mention skins, sliders,

or shoes used for this purpose, and similar references

occur in Norse myths. The earliest skis of which any

record exists were found in bogs in Sweden and Finland.

They are thought to be between 4000 and 5000 years

old and consist of elongated curved frames covered

with leather.

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