Cross-country skiing

Cross-country skiing

Cross-country skiing dates back thousands of years to when humans first realised that, by attaching two shaped pieces of wood to their feet, they could travel a lot faster across snow-covered fields and through woodlands when hunting! Nowadays, cross-country skiing is still practised by thousands of people around the world and, for many, it remains the most efficient way of going about their daily business.

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Cross-country skiing holidays

There are four main styles of cross-country skiing. Each style is very different from the others and each technique requires a completely different set of skis, boots and poles:

Classic skiing

The most common type of cross-country skiing practised, especially by those who are learning to ski, because of its similarity to walking. The classic style is generally done on a prepared piste that has a set of tramlines that you place your skis in. The diagonal stride technique that you use transforms walking on skis into the gliding along a track. This is the easiest method to learn and the foundation for all other techniques. This is the style used on most Headwater cross-country skiing holidays.


Practice your technique

A very similar technique to ice-skating, the skier still skis on a prepared piste, but outside of the parallel tracks. With the skis in a V-shape they use the inside edge of their ski to propel themselves forward whilst gliding on the other ski. Skating is usually practised at a much faster pace and uses a lot more energy.


Ski touring takes skiers beyond the constraints of well-maintained, groomed trails and into the backcountry. Wider skis with metal edges are used to allow for more stability and edge control in the varied terrain. Touring skiers tend to be interested in exploration, full day or over-night trips; exercise is simply an added benefit to these excursions.


With equipment similar to that used for alpine skiing (strong reinforced boot and robust ski), except that these skis have a binding that only connects the toe of the boot to the ski. As a telemark skier descends the slope they to make elegant S-shaped turns in the snow, whilst appearing to bend down on one knee.

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