Cross country skiing, also known as Nordic skiing, is the perfect way to take you away from the busy ski pistes and lifts into the beauty and tranquility of winter landscapes. Requiring a mix of strength, endurance and technique, fitness preparation is divided into summer and winter training periods. Summer training requires a mix of endurance sports such as cycling, running and swimming with conditioning in the gym to strengthen specific ski muscles. These exercises, combined with roller skiing, utilising roller skis, which faithfully mimic the action of cross country skiing on snow, help develops the all important element of balance. As cross country skis are thinner and have no metal edges, this balance is fundamental.
It goes without saying that cross country skiing is fabulous for overall fitness as it exercises both upper and lower body muscles. Moving forward on flat or uphill terrain requires more physical effort than simply making turns on downhill skis. Elite cross country ski athletes eat up to 7000 calories a day, 3000 calories more than their fellow competitors in downhill skiing and ice hockey. The mix of strenuous endurance, freezing winter conditions and altitude burns huge amounts of calories. A typical elite cross-country skier will burn about 30 calories a minute during training — by comparison, a 155-pound person on an elliptical machine burns about 11 calories a minute.