What No One Told You About Cross Country Skiing

#1) Classic and Skate. There is a difference. Do not be surprised that many people could be so dense to believe differently. All non-skiers know about Nordic is that we attach long pieces of wood to our feet while wearing clothing that looks way too lightweight to be warm.

#2) Skiing is like NOT running, or like any other endurance sport for that matter. It is common sense for the seasoned Nordic Skier, but if you cannot remember the last time you found yourself face-first on the pristinely groomed trails of Birkieland, then you started this sport way too young. Sign up for a class, or have an experienced friend show you the ropes!

#3) Boot fit matters! Make sure your boots are snug but comfortable. Boots should fit like a shoe, with about a thumbs width of space at the toe. If you are trying to learn to balance & glide while dealing with cramped toes & loose ankle support, the result will not be fun. And skiing should be fun! Go ahead be that person try on every boot. A properly fitting boot will make all the difference!

#4) Dress correctly. Despite the cold, you will sweat, whether you are a Birchlegger or a newbie. Ditch the alpine jacket and gloves. We Nordies work for our downhills! That thick puffy coat is not needed here. Wear layers. It seems counterintuitive, but a light weight-wicking base layer is all that is necessary to keep you warm. The next layer should be a jacket with a wind-resistant front & breathable panels under the arms and across the back to release sweat. For those brave enough to venture out in the single digits, a brushed fleece mid-layer or vest will be the perfect addition both for warmth & style points. Pain from the cold does not gain you anything. Just more time in the warming house and less time pretending you are Bjorn Daehlie - or our favorite Birkie Champion, Alayna Sonnesyn.

#5) Drink! Water, not an adult beverage. Okay, maybe after skiing. Training for; The Birkie, Koretloppet, or Prince Hakkon is a challenging process! While you are out skiing, staying hydrated is necessary for maintaining your energy as you expend it climbing all of those hills. Carry water or sports drink along with your keys, phone, and plenty of snacks in an insulated hydration belt. We promise it will not freeze unless you forget it in your car!

#6 What is the deal with all the different bindings! NNN, SNS, Prolink, 3 Pin, Profil, Turnamic. Why are they different? Why can we not have one system? Oh, yes, we ARE moving in that direction! One binding system to rule them all! NNN (aka Turnamic, Xcelerator, or Prolink). All the other systems can be, put into a steel trap of the mind, but keep note of this when buying used gear & don't get stuck in the past like Marty Mcfly.

#7) Wax matters! To what degree depends on your goals. Are you racing this year? Hopefully, you have the skills of a witch, chemist, and master carpenter. If not – sign up for the Gear West Birkie Wax Service.

#8) 15 degrees F is not cold. If there is no wind, it is about as perfect as it gets! With the right mix of clothing, you do not overheat, and skis glide beautifully at that temp. A lot colder, skis will drag. When it gets above freezing, they bog down in the soft snow.

#9) Birkie Fever is real. We have never found a cure, but we do have the treatment! Please come in, or call us at the store with all of your questions.

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