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Home > Magazine > Skis > Why Cross Country Ski? ...What I learned will shock you! : )

Why Cross Country Ski? ...What I learned will shock you! : )
January 25, 2016

Ah ha ha. I make myself laugh. I should give all my online articles those "web savvy" titles. "What you'll see will shock you!"

...But it's true! I was googling "how to learn XC skiing" and the first 3 links I encountered started out with this exact presentation: "Wow, cross country skiing is so cool! You work your upper and lower body and get a great cardio benefit and burn 1000 calories! It's hard to do, and skating is even harder, but you'll really get a good workout!"

ARGH!!!!

Those reasons are STUPID! They have nothing to do with why C is great. They are only obvious SIDE EFFECTS that come from ANY kind of ACTUAL ACTIVE LIVING!

ALL living uses your body and burns calories.

The only time we do things for those specific reasons is when we go to a GYM or use some kind of non-functional contraption.

XC skiing is great because you're OUTSIDE! In the FRESH AIR! And you're doing something civil, normal, active, dynamic that you can easily do with FRIENDS. XC is conducive to ROMPING.

And it GLIDES.

Glide is a motion that is guaranteed to make a human SMILE.

Skis have no moving parts. It's the closest sport to just going out and running around. It involves 4 sticks, basically. One on each appendage. With these the whole snowy world is your oyster.

Why is skiing fun? Because you GLIDE, with RHYTHM, in a PAYOFF scenario: where it seems like you're getting out more than you're putting in! It doesn't matter in the slightest how MUCH of any of this is involved. It's not at all about quantity but quality. The qualities of glide, rhythm and payoff create guaranteed smiles and thrills.

And the HARDNESS of any of it? It's as hard as anything else. It's as hard as using your body to do something like a skill. Yes, you'll need to hold yourself in a state of readiness. Yes, you'll have to resist gravity. Yes, you'll need to move your arms and legs. Yes, it takes some core strength to keep yourself upright. Yes, you'll have to push yourself from one foot to another. But any more than that? Bah! It's more a case of NOT working hard! Grannies do it! Elderly people fly along! Millions do it until they die of old age! Children do it without thinking! Nobody likes XC skiing because it's work. It's not! It's not a workout, either. Again, that's what you do in a gym. ...It's SKIING!

If you're thinking of speed, remember that all speed is relative. Downhill skiing is faster, sure...sometimes. Often not. Downhill skiing is also about payoff and rhythm and many occasions don't emphasize speed at all. But when XC skiing you wear less and use less than when downhill skiing so any given speed feels faster. A car is faster than downhill skiing but it protects even more so delivers less fun.

And uphill skiing isn't as fast as downhill skiing, but when you do it right you still get glide and still feel the payoff which means rewarding speed which means a smile!

But there's more! These functions do not need to happen alone or as an island to themselves. XC is a free, cheap, sustainable activity that exploits nobody nor puts anybody down or up. It's the democracy of the fresh air. The focus point: LIFE. Simply. Yet it can include ANY amount of community and friendship. You can do it with people. You can go to the store this way. You can race it. You can explore with it. You can do a tricky little course with it. You can picnic with it. You can do it around a bonfire or a sauna or hot tub. You can do it with apple juice or with white wine. It makes any good food taste better -- right on the trail or before or after. It can go with camping, canoeing, ice-fishing or hunting. It can be done in the city or country or wilderness. I can be done with anyone, young or old. You can pull people with it, you can push them. You can be their eyes for them if they're blind.

The Scandinavians call it FRILUFTSLIV. ...The fresh air life.

THAT'S WHY IT'S COOL.

Everything else is just lagniappe.

Everything else is just the obvious effects that come from doing any wholesome outdoor activity.

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