Nordic skiing, also known as cross country skiing, is a popular, traditional Northern European activity in that anyone can do, regardless of age, experience, or skill level. Many people in Norway, Sweden, and Finland cross country ski as soon as they can walk. Stockholm, Oslo, and Helsinki have pleasant cross country skiing trails with rental centers close to the city center. It is a winter activity that anyone can do on a snowy day and it is a great way to take in a bit of Nordic culture. One can never predict Mother Nature, but normally there is snow on the ground from December to late March/early April. Beware of sore muscles (upper and lower body) after your first cross country skiing experience, whether it is your first ski of the year, or your first ski ever.

Types of Cross Country Skis

There are two main types of cross country skiing: classic and skating. Classic cross country skis are long and thin. The length of your skis is determined by your height. The taller you are, the longer your skis should be. The front of your foot is attached to your ski but your heel is loose, enabling you to kick forward and glide. Many cross country ski areas in Northern Europe have pre-groomed and lit trails, making it easier for you to ski.

Skating skis are shorter in length and require a different technique. Skating skiers angle their skis and shift their weight from one leg to the other, similar to ice skating. It is easier to go faster with skate skis than classic skis. Both types of skiing require poles and you will see both types of skiing at cross country ski resorts.

Oslo, Norway

Oslo has hundreds of kilometers of trails. Tracks begin at the Frognerseteren and Sognsvann T-bane stations. Rent equipment from Tomm Nurstad Skiservice at the Voksenkollen station.