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  1. #1
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    Question Cross country skiing

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    A mountain bike friend of mine who is also off the trail for now has offered to let me try out her cross-country skis this winter in northern Indiana to see what I think of it. I am interested...but unsure how good an idea it is. This isn't down-hill of course, "just" cross-country.

    How hard is this on the knees? I've a cranky knee that doesn't allow me to run due to an unstable patella ("runners knee"). Is this a real concern? I've been trying to research this but haven't been able to find what I am looking for. I know we have a lot of members who do this so figured I should ask here

  2. #2
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    Feb 2005
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    I think that it probably has the same stresses as cycling or hiking, depending on how much climbing and descending you do. My knees never hurt when I ski.
    Just to warn you, Catrin, there is "downhill" in x country skiing. Of course, it's minimal on beginner trails. But when I started, over 20 years ago, I never got off of the beginner trails, and it was boring. After I started cycling, I became more adventurous and it wasn't really a big deal. The climbing is like climbing in cycling; you can do it slowly, it can be challenging, but it's a real accomplishment when you are done. I am much more adventurous with descending on skinny skis as opposed to on my bike. Again, I am not a speed demon, but I've done some tough stuff.
    Can you tell that I love this sport?
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  3. #3
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    Thanks Crankin, and that makes sense about the downhill...it isn't as if cross-country mountain biking doesn't have descents I had to laugh when my friend kept telling me how flat cross-country skiing is! It is good to know that you haven't had knee pain doing this.

    My neck may be a limiting factor this weekend with new activities that require balancing. If these injections work and the pain/neurological decreases then I will likely try it since mountain biking season is pretty much shot now. Snow shoes might also be interesting...but for either sport I would likely have to drive to northern Indiana to do them with any regularity.

  4. #4
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    Catrin - when you say x-country skiing, are you referring to classic style? If yes, I agree with Crankin that you likely won't have knee issues above and beyond those found with cycling/hiking (though the descents can be tougher on the knees).

    If, however, you are referring to skate skiing, I would comment that the torsional strain on the knee is greater than classical skiing, and I do get achy knees after a full day of skating.

    SheFly
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by SheFly View Post
    Catrin - when you say x-country skiing, are you referring to classic style? If yes, I agree with Crankin that you likely won't have knee issues above and beyond those found with cycling/hiking (though the descents can be tougher on the knees).

    If, however, you are referring to skate skiing, I would comment that the torsional strain on the knee is greater than classical skiing, and I do get achy knees after a full day of skating.

    SheFly
    I honestly do not know the difference between the two, and it may not happen. One of my mtb friends really would like me to try it and so far all I have committed to is that I will consider it. I will ask her which she means, thanks!

  6. #6
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    OK I tried looking up a definition for you, but everything was too complicated .

    Classical skiing is typically two parallel tracks and the motion is kind of like shuffling forward (it's really striding if you're doing it right, shuffling if you're me ), but the skis are pointed straight in front of you.

    Skate skiing is a side motion with each leg - it mimics skating on ice skates. It's the side torsion that can mess with the knee - especially if your technique is off.

    Does that help differentiate? Sorry to confuse the issue.

    SheFly
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  7. #7
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    Sep 2001
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    Here's the differences between classic skiing and skate skiing from Nordic Ski Colorado. www.NordicSkiColorado

    "Cross-country skiing has two styles that require slightly different equipment but basically feature an attachment of the boot to the ski at the toe, leaving the back heel free to lift during the push-off.

    Classic Style (AKA Traditional or Diagonal) uses a straight-ahead glide to propel the skier forward along a groomed track with dual grooves that help guide the skis and keep them inline. Classic skis are a little longer and softer, and the boots are more like shoes.

    Skate Skiing Style (AKA Freestyle) uses the inner edges of the ski much like ice skates to push off and glide along a flat groomed surface, leaving a V-shaped track. Skate skiers use longer poles than those used for Classic Style, as well as shorter, stiffer skis and taller, stiffer boots".



    Classic and skate skis do not have metal edges like touring skis. Tour skiing means going out and making your own tracks, or following someone elses tracks. Metal edges protect the skis from roots and are easier to turn. The boots remind me of hiking boots.

    Does your friends ski boots fit you or will you have to borrow or buy boots? Unlike Alpine bindings that will fit any brand of boot XC boots must match the binding system so you will need to know what binding system she is using if you have to find boots.

    Although I learned to ski on groomed runs at my local Alpine ski area I prefer skiing at a Nordic Center on machine groomed trails, it's a lot easier. If touring is your goal and your friends gear doesn't work out, rent gear from a Nordic center and take a couple of lessons to learn the basics like stopping, climbing, turning and getting up from a fall. With a little practice you'll have the confidence to make your own tracks. Remember even tiny bumps of a hill can be very scary if you don't have the skills to go up or down them. You use the same skills on touring skis as you do on classic skis.

    XC skiing is a great sport, easy on the joints, uses lots of muscles and not expensive. I burn a lot more calories in an hour than I do in several hours on my bike or when I Alpine ski.
    Last edited by Kathi; 12-12-2011 at 08:04 PM.

  8. #8
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    Well, in New England, it is popular to have classic skis with metal edges, because of the conditions (ice) and steep up and downs. Perhaps they would be called touring skis elsewhere? My skis are definitely not back country skis and I still have soft style boots, because the last pair of hard/hiking type ski boots i tried, cut my feet up terribly.
    I saw a new model of my skis that is supposedly perfect for a combination of back country/groomed trails, i.e. skinny enough to fit in the tracks. I would love to get a second pair, as last year when I went to Franconia, the trails were tracked, but the groomed side area next to the tracks was really skinny and not big enough for me to snowplow when descending. Does this make sense? I can't really descend with one foot in the tracks and one out, though I tried. I fell more than I ever have! If I had had skis with even better metal edges, I could have handled the skinny, sorta groomed area, which was definitely more back country than let's say Bretton Woods. Plus, the climbing on these trails was really challenging. One of the trails we went up was a Black Diamond trail for an Alpine area . Yes, I climbed it. We saw 3 skiers coming down in the beginning, but it's a mostly unused trail, thankfully.
    Hey, I have 2 bikes. I want two pairs of skis.
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  9. #9
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    Crankin, isn't the right number of skis n+1, just like bikes?



    Thanks for all of the information everyone, it is appreciate. With my neck injury I am leery to try it this year. I figure it would be like mountain biking, more likely to fall and I can't afford risking snapping my head back again. Snow shoes sound safer, but we haven't had any snow yet. I am hoping for warmer than average winter. Bring on the rain rather than snow I know, baaad Catrin
    Last edited by Catrin; 12-13-2011 at 02:12 PM.

  10. #10
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    Sep 2001
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    Lakewood, Co
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    Snow shoeing will be perfect for you. You can go anywhere on showshoes, little risk of falling, no lessons involved and it's a smaller investment. I use hiking poles with snow baskets. If you can't find them locally REI.com is a good online source. It's also a good source for XC ski gear if you decide to go that route. Wait for the sales after Christmas before you buy.

    I prefer a women's specific snowshoe, they're more streamlined than unisex.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
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    Maine
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    Snowshoeing is definitely a great sport! Although I think that nordic skiing would benefit someone who rides a mtn bike more... it's more aerobic AND works both your upper and lower part of your body.... just like mtn bikes. Although any activity over the winter will help come spring.

    I agree with Crankin, I think we definitely need more than one pair of ski's! Salomon has a great ski with edges(X Adventure 59) and of course the new Fischer Silent Spider, both ski's are about the same weight and both will fit into tracks. Although I just bought a ski; I'd love to have one of the above ski's as well... maybe next year!

    Another great place to look for ski's is Akers-ski.com... have been around for more than 50 years and have a great deal of knowledge to go with that experience! Great deals on closeouts etc....

    One last tidbit, waiting until after Xmas may find you with some great deals, but you'll also not as much to choose from as well.... which can mean that you won't be able to find what you are looking for. A "true" ski shop/company will have more selection AND have inventory that you can choose from anytime of the year.


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  12. #12
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    The new Fischers are the ones I want, but I am not sure how different they are from the Spiders I already have... mine have metal edges in the front and the back of the ski. I've had these for 2 years. They are much shorter than my previous skis, which took some getting used to. The old ones had the metal edges along the whole side.
    I second the opinion to get snow shoes, but I find that unless I am doing some serious climbing, on big hiking trails, I just don't get the same kind of "sweat" going when i snow shoe. I can x country ski on flat trails and be really working hard, but snow shoeing on flat trails, tends to be like a fast walk for me. There's nothing wrong with that, but for me, the energy expenditure is quite different. I like snow shoeing, because I have trails in my neighborhood and I can do it out the door, or in the many conservation land trails around here. I also like the fact that in some of the x country ski areas we go to, we ski in the morning and then snow shoe in the afternoon, which seems to be a good combination for me. If I stop for lunch when I ski and then go back out, I am toast and my skills degrade quickly. Often, I end up skiing until 1-2, with snacks and have a late lunch, because I have learned the hard way! If I stop and eat lunch at noon and then snow shoe, I am fine (though tired).
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kathi View Post
    Snow shoeing will be perfect for you. You can go anywhere on showshoes, little risk of falling, no lessons involved and it's a smaller investment. I use hiking poles with snow baskets. If you can't find them locally REI.com is a good online source. It's also a good source for XC ski gear if you decide to go that route. Wait for the sales after Christmas before you buy.

    I prefer a women's specific snowshoe, they're more streamlined than unisex.
    I won't purchase any this year. Thankfully there is a very large nature park across the street from my apartment that rents snow shoes at quite a low rate so I can really try it out this winter to see what I think. I do appreciate all of the comments, they have been very helpful!

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
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    Michigan
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    I have wanted snow shoes for a while now but, have been told that we just do not get enough snow here in SE Michigan. I have been to the U.P. and they definitely have enough snow there....it just seems like I am always waiting for a good base snow, to even XC ski around here

    I'm not saying we do not get snow, just not enough for me to drop the money on snowshoes right now. I just do not think I would get enough use out of them where I live.

    We always seem to travel up North for skiing anyway (XC and Downhill)

    Seeing as you are farther south, I thought I would mention it. Definitely a good idea to rent before buying anyway.
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trek-chick View Post
    I have wanted snow shoes for a while now but, have been told that we just do not get enough snow here in SE Michigan. I have been to the U.P. and they definitely have enough snow there....it just seems like I am always waiting for a good base snow, to even XC ski around here

    I'm not saying we do not get snow, just not enough for me to drop the money on snowshoes right now. I just do not think I would get enough use out of them where I live.

    We always seem to travel up North for skiing anyway (XC and Downhill)

    Seeing as you are farther south, I thought I would mention it. Definitely a good idea to rent before buying anyway.
    That is the same thing I was thinking. I've also a friend who travels up to the area where they get lake effect snow who has suggested I can stay with her...which is a nice idea. I am not going to buy anything for a new sport this winter though. Personally, I wouldn't mind a mild winter this time...but will rent when I get a chance to do so.

 

 

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