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Thread: Cross Country Skiing outfits?

  1. #11
    Familiar Face JohnnyLoco's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JeffOYB View Post
    Most of the time we ARE on trails -- hiking trails. They're great for skiing. But they're not needed. If you ski close to home you'll make new tracks the first time out but the next day you have a trail! It gets faster each time, which is fun. But using skis that float in unbroken snow is cool, too.

    Maybe we should just call it "skiing." If you need a chair-lift then that's called "lift-served skiing." Just plain "skiing" includes everything one does on skis in the snow without anything fancy added on. Actually, "lift-served" skiing is mostly just a form of consumption/vacationing that indoor people do on an occasional weekend. I do tend to tell folks who ask what I like to do around here in the winter that I really like to ski and that I do it most days. They say "Where?" I say "right in the parks around our house." Then I let them put whatever label on it. The main thing to me is that I'm outside, skiing, in the snow and fresh air, with glide and pleasing rhythm, every day that we have snow. I once at the Russian head coach tell me that the reason skiing is pleasing is the glide. If you have glide, you'll smile. If it seems like you're getting out more than you put in, you'll smile. I glide up most the hills, too. I know how to relax and go faster than it feels like I'm working. Instant good time. So I don't really need to call it anything but skiing. Some days, though, when we get a fresh 10" on top of a nice base, we'll say "Let's hit the pow." And I know to grab a much wider set of skis, and know that we're headed to a hidden valley bowl. Sometimes slang works. : )

    Some of us are also trying to recover "backcountry" for the sane people. No reason why it has to be in the mountains. I think it just means "boonie" skiing. It might often involve making telemark turns but it can easily be done in the ravines, swales and glacial pockets of the Midwest and similar. No need for avalanche risk. Ski a trail, climb a ridge, do turns thru the trees, keep skiing -- that's BC, too. I recently composed an open letter to "BC" magazine about this issue. I'll shorten it then send it to them. For now, it's at my OYB website. Their subhead says "mountains" and "untracked" -- that "untracked" is our point of purchase to liberate the concept for non-macho skiers. : )
    That is awesome. All of it.

  2. #12
    One Too Many Flicka's Avatar
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    Traditionally here, we just say 'långfärdsskidor' as opposed to 'utförsåkning'. The latter means downhill skiing and is about speed and thrills, no matter how you get up the side of the mountain. The first literally means 'travel-far-skiing' which implies it's about getting around. I know that to my grandfather grew up in northern Sweden in the teens and 20s, skiing was just a means of transportation, not a sport.

  3. #13
    Vendor JeffOYB's Avatar
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    Other languages can offer enlightening distinctions -- somewhere ski moves include the word for "dance." I love the Scandi term for outdoor enjoyment: "friluftsliv." Its meaning jumps out in English, too -- free air life -- with a hint of love in there ("love life").

    I still think a lot of skiing is done as a combination of distance and turns/jumps/speed/play -- and it used to be even moreso that way in vintage days. Certainly even today most XC skiing is done on non-fancy, non-groomed trails. But many today aren't skilled enough to include turns/jumps in with their trail fun. -- Although equipment recently has improved enough to make this far easier. (New lite-tour boots with cuffs and new midlength XC skis with sidecut make it easy to do tricky fun things when out on tour. Thankfully this is thrifty mid-range gear, even.)

    When I once skied with Europeans they included more variety than the US skiers I was used to -- it was more like how we did it when we were kids. I've heard that the reason why they keep winning is that they just love it more.

    There's a Hemingway story that's inspiring -- they ski up the hills and down them (with speed and turns) and then for miles to get back home. I just kinda don't see a need to segregate these aspects of skiing since they all fit together so well. But there's certainly a place for specializing -- and to me that's when it's no longer just skiing and when the special terms are suitable. As with skis that you can't go uphill on or when you choose to base your skiing around a lift or when you have toothpick skis that you can't do downhills or turns on. So it kinda does seem like there's skiing, but when you limit it -- to grooming, or lifts, or skating, or jumps -- then you need to refine the term.

    I've heard that in Norway the XC skiers will ski the trails for miles then take a lift that also covers a lot of horizontal territory, maybe to get to another range of trails. Basically, the XC skiers also sometimes take lifts. Or maybe it's that the lifts help connect towns and ski areas. Their lifts don't always only serve to get fixed-heel skiers up steep slopes. I'm obviously a bit unclear about it, but I remember it seemed neat when I heard about it -- can you assist, Flicka?

  4. #14
    One Too Many Flicka's Avatar
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    I don't really ski anymore, but I've been at ski resorts in both Norway and Sweden where there were lifts that transport you between slopes and also between the resort area and the actual mountain slopes (Sälen in Sweden for example). As far as I know, cross country skiers use them to get to and between trails too.

    But of course you can go downhill when you're cross country skiing; vice versa isn't as good an idea (though I've trailed between slopes and even across a mountain). My father's family had a cabin in northern Sweden (my grandfather was Sami) and they would sometimes ski to the mountain/fell (fjäll in Swedish) and then up and down all day. It wasn't a ski resort or anything, just a mountain. But often they'd use a snowmobile because they were lazy like that!

    ETA: If you want to I could ask my mother if I could rifle through her old pics. I don't think I have any really vintage photos, but probably skiers in the 50s and 60s. Would those be of interest?
    Last edited by Flicka; 01-28-2012 at 05:09 PM.
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  5. #15
    Vendor JeffOYB's Avatar
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    I'd like seeing vintage pics of XC skiers -- if they're going along trails with some downhill thrown in that would be fine. That's my angle.

    Speaking of snowmobiles... We've used a quad-runner to tow a bunch of skiers who are all hanging onto a rope for a few miles from a lodge with a nasty chopped-up two track to nice trails. And speaking of vintage skiers and snowmobiles, the winter military manuals show an array of at least a dozen troops on skis being towed by a vehicle. I think they had 2 ropes and splayed the lines of skiers on either side of the vehicle. The graphics have a vintage look but maybe they still practice such maneuvers.

  6. #16
    Vendor JeffOYB's Avatar
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    Here are two great vintage mixed-style skiing videos:




  7. #17
    Familiar Face Jish1969's Avatar
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    If you're out skiing for the day the best layering system I have found is a fleece under a windbreaker or light anorak. Fleece dries exceptionally fast and will not retain water even if it gets soaked. For the bottoms I prefer neoprene long johns and snow pants. Both my fleece and anorak have armpit zippers keep the sweat from forming when youre really hauling as well, and this is perhaps their best feature.
    For years I have been XC skiing wherever there was snow from parks to trails to woods. Last year I got my first pair of dedicated BC skis, Karhu 10th Mountains with Voile 3-pin cable bindings; they are made for breaking trail and telemark turns, and can be a little sluggish compered to XC skis because of their width and camber. I took them to the resort last year and performed "admirably" I would say, but I need much more practice. I also went out to the Tug Hill earlier this month to find snow and took in a lot of miles in the backcountry on them.
    The wife and I also made it to our first groomed track at Sprague Brook a few weeks ago and loved it. The backcountry really isn't her thing so this track was good for her and had some nice little hills for me to speed down, so we will definitely be going there again. It is just too bad this has been such a disappointing winter, I mean I'm in Buffalo and the snow will not stay for more than a day! Hopefully February will bring more opportunities...

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    Last edited by Jish1969; 01-30-2012 at 05:05 PM.

  8. #18
    Vendor JeffOYB's Avatar
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    I suppose everyone is different as regards ideal clothing. Maybe in the cold and when putting out some effort this situation becomes even more complicated as regards everyone being different. Probably the only answer is to go out with a basic outfit, try it and adjust from there. I do believe that vintage (wool) does really well for cold weather outdoor sport, so that's nice for FedLo folk! (Actually, vintage is dandy for warm weather sport, too! --Seersucker shorts and shirts are wonderful for summer biking, often a lot nicer than lycra. That stuff is only good for going superfast.)

  9. #19
    Familiar Face Heeresbergführer's Avatar
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    Grüß Di' Ski-Kameraden,

    Wools are the best! When I get to ski either alpine or nordic, I'm out there with my wool pants, shirt, sweater, and poplin anorak.



    I'm just waiting for some snow this winter in the DC area! Alas...it's suppose to be in the upper 60's for the next few days.


    Ski Heil,

    Patrick

  10. #20
    I'll Lock Up Smithy's Avatar
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    Only just found this thread and thoroughly enjoyed it.

    I love cross country skiing, although have never done it here in Australia. Did it in northern Norway where I have lived twice. We never did trails just around family's cottages and around the countryside. Påsketur was when we did a lot. My wife used to compete in Norway so she's much, much better and faster than me

    Thanks for starting the thread.
    "K.B.O." - Winston Churchill

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