Tips for Cross-Country Skiing

Planning on going cross-country skiing this winter? If so, check out these few tips before heading out the door!

Dress in Layers

Family dressed warmly cross-country skiing on a mountain


Since cross-country skiing is an aerobic exercise, you can get over heated if you are dressed too warmly. A lightweight fleece top, tights, and weatherproof outdoor wear is best. You should also bring extra clothing and gear to stay comfortable.


Group of people cross country skiing with instructor


While at the ski center, it is important to inform staff if it’s your first time skiing. You should ask about rules and trail etiquette. Before you go skiing, it is recommended that you take a class on avalanche awareness. Even if you are skiing on a flat terrain, it can still be dangerous.


Woman stretching in snow before skiing


Stretching before and after helps you stay flexible and decreases muscle soreness. You will want to stretch your quadriceps, hamstrings, gluteus muscles, and calves as well your biceps and triceps.

Sun Protection

Sun reflecting on the snow trails


Sunlight reflected off the snow and exposure over a few hours can cause sunburns. Wear sunscreen and sunglasses with good UV protection.


Staying hydrated while on the trails helps you stay warm. It is recommended to take a few sips of water even if you are not thirsty.


People cross country skiing on a gentle slope


If it’s your first time cross-country skiing, find a gentle slope in a safe area where you can practice climbing and descending then move on to snowplow turns. As you get faster on your descents, you will want to learn to do step turns.


Cross country skiing in the woods


It’s always important to ski in control. To slow down your descent when skiing in groomed tracks, lift one ski out and set it at an angle to the track. Put pressure on the inside edge of that ski. Be sure not to press too hard or you may catch your ski and stop suddenly.

Suggested Gear:

  • Swix Tour Ski Pole
  • Salomon Carbon Energyzer
  • Ski Boots

Check out some gear that you may need to go cross-country skiing at our Gear Store.

Remember to have fun. It’s always about learning and trying new things! Also, download your state’s Pocket Ranger® app to find great cross-country skiing locations nearest you!

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