Cross Country Skis




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Cross Country Skis
Winter Driving Tips

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Grantman Waldron 

As a winter sportsman, you will find skis far more exhilarating, convenient, and less expensive than snowshoes for traveling over snow covered fields and other open areas.  Skis are easier to use, and when sliding downhill and gliding rapidly over level space, much faster time can be made than on snowshoes.

First Things First

The beginner will certainly suffer many tumbles if he tries to slide down hill at first, for the art of skiing must be mastered on level ground.  Never go skiing when there is a crust on the snow, for then the skis can not run straight because there is no light snow to hold them in place by means of the groove and the regular track.   Do not raise the foot, as must necessarily be done when walking on snow-shoes, but slide the skis forward with a movement similar to that used in skating: a light and easy motion requiring no more exertion than ordinary walking.  

When going uphill, however, raise the foot slightly and press the ski down on the snow quickly in order to avoid having it slide back.  Keep going until you reach the top if possible, for momentum once lost is not regained.  When ascending steep grades use the ski poles with quick, backward thrusts into the snow as a person would walk with two canes.

Keep Your Balance

It is easier for a child three or four feet tall to learn to keep his balance on skis than for a mature person.  The best method of learning to slide is to go rapidly forward for a few steps and then suddenly stop the motion and allow the skis to glide ahead with their own momentum.  This may be done on level ground or on a slight grade, and will serve to give you confidence in your ability to try the real hills.  

You should take a gentle slope at first and go with a buddy when there is no one else near to make fun of your first awkward attempts.  You will do well to keep in a sitting posture, if need be, in order to keep your balance and gain confidence.  As you feel more at ease, you can keep raising your body correspondingly, but bend well forward which will keep you from falling until you find your groove.

Slide Straight

Make your slide as straight as possible; you can learn to go around curves later.  Hold one ski slightly in advance of the other, and bend both knees a little; this will give you better poise.  Keep your eyes on the ski track in order to look out for rough places, especially near the foot of the hill where you will be at your fastest speed.  It will save many falls if you know just at what places to steady yourself, straighten suddenly to keep your balance, or swerve the body to left or right.  Keep each ski running parallel to the other.  Don't let them swing apart or come together: the latter accident will instantly throw you down.  The groove on the underside is made to hold the ski in a straight course. 

When sliding much depends on your attitude.  If you fear a certain rough place in the course, if you feel that you are going to fall, you almost certainly will.  On the other hand, if you are confident of your ability and don't feel nervous as you approach the uneven place, you will pass safely over it nine times out of ten. 

Don't be afraid of falling, because you are not half as likely to suffer injury in a tumble into the light snow as you are falling on the hard ground in summer.  Remember that you are elevated only an inch or so on your skis and will not fall far through space.

To turn curves when sliding, you simply give your entire body a slight jerk in the direction you wish to go, being careful at the same time to guide the skis in the right course.  It is difficult to keep balanced when first attempting it. 

When you come to a hill where it is too steep to ascend naturally on skis, you can turn half way around and climb step by step sidewise, as you would go that way upstairs, with the skis in a horizontal position so they will not slide backward.  Of course, it is difficult to do this, for the skis are certain to turn in every direction but the right one (straight ahead), and you will need much assistance from your ski pole.  It will, however, save walking through the deep snow.  No one will want to attempt that, even the experienced skier, except when it is necessary.

You can study instructions for using skis as much as you want, but without practical experience you will have little knowledge of the art.  These suggestions serve merely to give you a few skiing basics, which must first be learned in order to become an expert.






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Last modified: October 15, 2016.