Photo: Noel Hendrickson
Cross country skiers glide their way through the great outdoors at Silver Star Mountain Resort in B.C.
There's hardly a better way to spend a crisp winter day than cross country skiing. Fresh snow, blue sky and nothing but the sounds of slide and glide in your head. IMPACT thinks this sport is great, but don’t take our word for it; we asked ski experts across Canada what makes XC skiing rock and here’s what they said...
"You get to cheat nature by gliding over the snow — there is nothing like it. You use your upper body and your lower body at the same time, unlike running or cycling. It is aerobic and endurance strength training at the same time. Cross country skiing is total body fitness in one sport and as a result, you burn more calories so it’s good for weight control. You stay warm outside in the winter because you are doing the work, not a machine or a lift. And anyone can do it — young or old. If you can walk, you can ski."
Jack Sasseville, 40-year XC ski coach, broadcaster, president and general manager, Hardwood Ski and Bike in Oro-Medonte, Ont.
"Cross country skiing is great for overall aerobic fitness and strength. You can go solid for a few hours and get a better workout than downhill skiing all day. It’s super fun and as much fun going up the hill as it is going down."
Peter Lloyd, Nakkertok Ski Club coach in Cantley, Que., and former member of the Cross Country Canada board of directors.
"XC skiing has jaw-dropping fitness benefits for people of all ages. It’s a life sport, and it doesn’t take all day. You can get a fantastic workout in 1-2 hours. Hands-down, it’s the most social of all skiing disciplines. People are friendly, everyone says hello on the trails and you can talk and ski with your companion. There are amazing locations throughout Canada and the world that accommodate XC skiing and make for exceptional travel adventures."
Guy Paulsen, 26-year elite Nordic, alpine and telemark ski coach and winter sports manager at Silver Star Mountain Resort in Vernon, B.C.
"It’s fun. It’s the best exercise you can do for yourself. It gets you outside and enjoying the great Canadian outdoors."
Beckie Scott, 2002 Olympic champion from Vegreville, Alta., and program director with Ski Fit North Alberta.
"When the snow sparkles in the sun, you get in a rhythm and glide through nature. There’s nothing better. This sport boasts a great full-body caloric burn and is a great way to earn Christmas indulgences and/or burn them off in the New Year. Be efficient with your time and your money. You can get a great ski session in just 30-60 minutes and an adult day pass at ski centres is very affordable — as little as $15."
Chandra Crawford, 3-time Olympian and 2006 Olympic gold medallist from Canmore, Alta.
Photo: Chandra Crawford
Chandra Crawford and her mom at the Canmore Nordic Centre.