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Cross-country Skiing

Cross-country skiing can be either a recreational or a competitive sport. Skiers use lightweight skis with wax on the bottom to glide across the snow, striding with their legs and propelling themselves with poles. Unlike alpine skiing, cross-country skiing (also called Nordic skiing) takes place on all different terrains, with the skier skiing both up and down hills. In competitive races, skiers can race individually or in relay teams.

There are two different styles of cross-country skiing. One, called classic skiing, involves skiers going straight ahead in a grooved trail on the snow. The other, called skate skiing or freestyle, involves skiers moving forward by sliding their skis diagonally on the top of the snow, like rollerblading. Because skate skiing is much faster than classic skiing, the races for each style are held separately. Most races at the high school level are either five or seven-and-a-half kilometers, or between about three and five miles.


ALASKA KID TIP:
"Stick your poles hard into the ground and then release back quickly to get an extra burst of speed."
- Jessica Y.

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