Cross Country Skiing
It all Started with Cross Country
Cross-country skiing is the oldest skiing sport, and has been contested in every Winter Olympics since their inception, with a long history in New Zealand with national championships starting in 1928.
It is a low impact, low risk outdoor winter sport that promotes health and fitness for the whole family. At a basic level, it is a sport that is easily learned, with “no boundaries” for age, gender or fitness level. It is an ideal introduction to snow sports for those that do not participate in other snow sports. Cross country skiing is truly a “sport for life” – in that participation frequently leads to passionate commitment and with it a life-long involvement in the sport.
The main difference between Cross Country Skiing (XC) compared to other snow sports is that it is more like walking, running and tramping on the snow. Its aim is to get from A to B. At a competitive level it is an endurance sport. The equipment is very light, and the boots are only attached to the ski at the toe, which allows a XC skier to climb, descend and traverse terrain making the sport a truly "cross country" activity. In alpine skiing, the entire foot is attached to the ski.
The ski trail is groomed with a machine similar to an alpine groomer. At one side of the track there are two grooves are pressed into the snow by a plate on the back of the groomer.
The grooves (or classic tracks) are for classic skiing and the groomed area to the side is for ski skating.
Classic skiing: Diagonal striding action like walking or running , with extra momentum provided by pushing with the poles.
Skating: skating movement, like ice skating with a push from the skis as well as the poles.
Classic and skate skiing use different equipment. Classic skis must be able to grip the snow as well as glide. Skate skis rely on their edge to push forward. The boots and poles are also different.
The Snow Farm is a popular training venue for the US and Canadian national teams, and a number of Russian and Japanese teams. The NZ senior and development teams train there and all New Zealand cross country events are based at the Snow Farm.
Cross Country Skiing in New Zealand
The Snow Farm is a world class training facility based in the Cardrona Valley by Wanaka, with over 50km of groomed trails. The Snow Farm is now owned and administered by Pisa Alpine Charitable Trust to ensure that the area remains available to future generations for cross country skiing and other sports. The 310 ha are located at an elevation of 1600m with facilities including ski hire, backcountry huts and a Biathlon range. The area also has associated on-field lodge, café, and restaurants. The season runs from July – September with trails groomed 7 days a week.
If you can walk or wheel a wheel chair you can cross country ski.