Cross Country Skiing Basics

Cross Country Skiing on Minnesota's
Cross Country Ski Trails

Search the Minnesota Visitor Website

Learning some cross country skiing basics will give you a great reason to get outdoors and participate in Minnesota outdoor activity. Cross country skiing is a wonderful way to stay in shape and it is a winter activity that you can do for your whole life.

Cross Country Skiing Basics

Some national statistics show that participation in cross-country skiing has declined in recent years, however it remains very popular in Minnesota. 

The appeal of cross country skiing is that, once you're proficient, you can go anywhere, at your own pace. 

Cross-country skiing can be a slow, gentle and reflective way of experiencing the outdoors in winter. It can also be an adrenaline-pumping and competitive sport.

Cross-country skiing can be enjoyed in a wide variety of forms. It may be called "Nordic skiing," "ski touring," "track skiing," "skate skiing," "backcountry skiing," or "telemarking." 

Some of the Best Places
to Cross-Country Ski in Minnesota

To really enjoy cross-country skiing and its fitness benefits, it is important to learn some cross country skiing basics such as:

  • How to move at a reasonable speed while feeling comfortable on a variety of terrains.
  • Some downhill techniques to avoid being confined to flat trails.

Various Cross-Country Skiing
Basic Techniques

  • Classic: Most basic technique and the one that most people learn first. Classic cross-country skiing is ususally done on groomed trails in tracks created by a trail grooming machine. Classic skis are narrower than downhill skis and the boots are soft.
  • Skate skiing: An athletic and aerobic speed technique that uses shorter skis and longer poles. Skate skiing is usually done on groomed trails but outside of the tracks.
  • Telemark: Originally a turning technique, telemark is used for both backcountry touring and on downhill slopes. Equipment includes harder boots and more side-cut skis for turning.

Minnesota has some of the most extensive networks of cross-country ski trails in the U.S.

More Cross Country Skiing Basics

The basic technique or rhythm of classic cross country skiing is kick, stride and glide. The kick puts pressure on the center of the ski so it makes firm contact with the snow. The kick is accomplished while keeping your hip, and thus your weight, forward over the ski. 

The next movement is to stride with the other ski. This is done by shifting the opposite hip forward and launching into a glide. The tracks that are set into a groomed trail help to stabilize a skiier and allow you to concentrate on perfecting your diagonal stride.

Learning cross country skiing basics does take some time. If you are in reasonably fit condition, you should be able to become proficient in about 10 days by spending some time each day to focus on one aspect of skiing: the stride, poling, snowplowing, and step-turns.

Minnesota's public cross-country ski trails.

More Winter Sports Links:

Minnesota Ski Resorts

Snow Sledding in Minnesota

Extreme Sledding

Dogsledding Tours in Minnesota

Christmas in Minnesota

Back to Minnesota Winter

Minnesota Vacation Rentals by VRBO - Choose a vacation rental in a specific area or get ideas about some of the best Minnesota vacation destinations before you decide. Take a look at some of these fantastic properties and locations for your group of any size.

Lodging in Minnesota - Hotels - Resorts - Bed & Breakfast Inns - Vacation Rentals

Ticket Liquidator: Minnesota Events Tickets and Venues Get deeply discounted tickets on top Minnesota sporting events, concerts, and shows. Timberwolves, Golden Gophers, Top Concerts ....More. Continuously Updated with current ticket offers.

Minnesota Entertainment: Discount tickets to sporting events, concerts and shows. Save up to 50%.

Top Things to Do in Minnesota Every area of Minnesota has unique attractions and activities. This is the best interactive list of the fun to be found everywhere in the state.

Minnesota State Parks: From Afton to Zippel Bay

Made in Minnesota

Minnesota Gifts & Souvenirs

Minnesota Visitor Site Map

About Me

Contact Us

Minnesota Visitor Home Page

Judith Ramsey - Publisher
Copyright © 2005 ~ 2016
All Rights Reserved

Amazon Associates Disclosure
 - Judith Ramsey is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Thank you for supporting this site so I can continue to bring you Visit Minnesota.

Advertise On Visit Minnesota

Enter Your E-mail Address
Enter Your First Name (optional)

Don't worry — your e-mail address is totally secure.
I promise to use it only to send you Minnesota Explorer.

Recent Articles

  1. Pipestone National Monument

    Jun 20, 17 11:07 AM

    Visit Pipestone National Monument at Pipestone Minnesota. Stay in a local hotel or at the Pipestone RV campground.

    Read More

  2. Minnesota Visitor

    Jun 18, 17 10:15 AM

    Minnesota visitor is an insider's vacation travel guide to the top Minnesota tourism spots and top attractions all across the state.

    Read More

  3. Bucket List Ideas

    Jun 17, 17 07:18 PM

    What's on your Minnesota bucket list? Your life bucket list ideas should include at least a few of these unique Minnesota destinations.

    Read More

Winter Fun in Minnesota!

Minnesota Cross-Country Skiing

Cross-Country Skiing Basics

How to Ice Skate

Learning to Ice Skate

Ice Fishing in Minnesota

Snowmobiling in Minnesota

Skijoring in Minnesota

Snowshoe in Minnesota

How to Make Snowshoes

Minnesota Winter Activities

List of Winter Sports

Advertising Disclosure

Privacy Policy