Cross-country skiing – what's it all about?
Anyone who thinks of cross-country skiing, the world's oldest ski sport, will probably conjure up images of cross-country skiers gliding elegantly across coverings of snow – even giving an appearance of floating.
The first cross-country skiing competitions already took place in around 1550 in Telemarken (Norway). Cross-country skiing was originally only meant to be a means of transport in areas that received deep coverings of snow. But this means of getting about has now become a leisure and competitive sport. Two different propulsion techniques have in the meantime essentially emerged in this sport, namely 'classic' and 'skating'.
In classic-style skiing, the skis must not be longer than 2.30 metres. Skis used in skate skiing on the other hand are between 1.75 m and 2 m long. The ski boots used in skate skiing are particularly important since the ankle is placed under particular stress by the skating motion in this technique. The boots need to be able to offer adequate ankle support.
The height of the ski poles also differs with each skiing style. In the classic style, they will reach up to the skier's armpit. In skate-style skiing they will usually be somewhat longer; they must however never be longer than the skier.
In classic-style skiing, selecting the right ski wax is also important in determining victory or a lower ranking, which will be made all the harder by large temeperature fluctuations at the competition site and a high humidity.