You have probably skied at some point in your life, but have you ever tried cross-country skiing? This form of skiing is a great sport to take up because it gives you a good workout and is a lot of fun! Plus, it can be easier to get from point A to point B with skis rather than walking! However, most people don't know the history of cross-country skiing or its different forms. Let's take a closer look at this unique sport and why you should give it a try. Here is everything you need to know about the history of cross-country skiing.
Cross-Country Skiing Origins
Cross-country skiing was initially used as a means of transportation. Thousands of years ago, in snowy Nordic countries, people couldn't easily travel during the winter. Villages were often remote, and using animals was out of the question. So, they began to use skis to help them gather firewood, hunt, and make social visits. Their skis were not as nice as our modern skis and were just planks of wood tied to shoes.
The Invention of the Modern Ski
Even though Norwegian army members were competing in cross-country ski competitions as early as the 18th century, modern skis with the binding that we know and love today weren't invented until the 19th century. These skis were designed across several countries at the same time, but they all made use of bindings. However, it wasn't until the 20th century that screwed-on steel toe straps were invented, which allowed skiers to use lighter skies and two poles. Before that, they usually only carried one!
Cross-Country Skiing as a Sport
The first official cross-country ski competition was held in Norway in 1842. In 1901, Norwegians added a separate cross-country event to the Holmenkollen Ski Festival. As the sport grew in popularity, it became recognized worldwide. The first men's competition was in 1924 at the Olympics, while the women didn't get their own chance at a medal until 1952. While the Nordic countries have traditionally dominated at this event, some Canadians have medaled, and the sport is growing more popular in North America.
Cross-Country Skiing Techniques
There are two ways you can cross-country ski. You can use the classical technique or the skating technique. In the classical technique, you keep your poles parallel and kick backward. This creates a gliding motion. This is the older style of skiing that was used for hundreds of years. In the 1970's, a new method was created that is similar to ice skating. In the skating technique, you push the inside edge of your ski backward and outwards at the same time. However, you must keep your skis at a 45-degree angle. When you use this technique, you can ski much more quickly than those who use the classical style.
Cross-country skiing is an excellent way to exercise and have fun. If you haven't tried it, then now is the time! There are local trails right here in Minnesota that will let you practice your technique and work on your speed. You can have a friendly competition or just go as fast as you feel comfortable. Either way, you'll have a blast and get some great cardio in. It's a win-win!