How to dress for Cross Country Skiing
Cross country skiing is a physical activity and your body will generate a tremendous amount of heat and moisture. The key is to dress in ay thin layers that you can put on or take off as needs be. There is no place for a Canada Goose parka in cross country skiing!!
Are too often over-dressed in parkas, snow suits and snow pants. Dress them in layers with clothing that you probably already have. Remember the old saying: a sweater is something that a child wears to keep mom warm!!
Bottom: long johns or tights + sweat pants + mud pants (some type of pant that will break the wind and thata snow will not stick to)
Top: long john shirt + sweatshirt/sweater + light jacket that can break the wind
Accessories: 2 pairs of socks (inner light/outer heavier and warmer), mitts rather than gloves, toque with ear flaps, neck warmer/balaclava. Sunglasses, sun block and water bottle.
Most adults also seriously one-layer over dress; the principle remains: layers. Because we have stopped growing and, if we ski each winter season, make an investment in better quality ski clothing that allows for freedom of movement and wicking of perspiration away from the body. You can use good quality outdoor clothing when you cycle, kayak or golf.
Bottom: long johns or tights + sweat pants/tights + track pant that breaks the wind OR, cross country ski pant. Many brands come with suspenders that keep the pant high on the back so that the cold doesn’t get you there.
Top: long john shirt + sweatshirt + light jacket. Better quality clothing will breathe and wick moisture away from your body. You can wear a sleeveless vest under your jacket.
Accessories: 2 pairs of socks, gloves or mitts (mitts are always warmer and I always carry a pair in my bag). Toque, neck warmer/balaclava. Sunglasses, sun block and water bottle.
WHERE TO SHOP: for ski or activity based clothing, there are any number of stores that you can go to: SAIL, BUSHTUKAH, MEC, FRESH AIR EXPERIENCE, PECCO’S, TRAILHEAD, ORLEANS CYCLE AND SPORTS, SPORT CHEK.
SOME HINTS !
- Change into your socks and boots when you get to the trailhead or chalet. If you wear your equipment to the site your socks will already be moist from sweat and you will get chilled. Even if you go to Mer Bleue or the Gatineau Park, you can change in the car.
- Take your socks and boots OFF after you are done- your ski socks will be wet and your dry socks will feel really good.
- Have a ski jacket that you wear to the trailhead –change into ski clothes when you get there and change out of your wet clothes when you get back.
- Let your equipment; boots, gloves especially air dry before your next outing.
How do I get my skis ready for the ski season?
1. The Worst Case Scenario
Your skis were put in the corner of the garage or the basement after your last outing of the season. They still have the wax of the day on them and, if you were unlucky enough for that to have been klister wax, you now have orange peel and styrofoam bits on your skis.
Step 1: clean your skis. Use a plastic scraper and a hair dryer to mechanically remove as much dirt as possible. If necessary, use a citrus solvent and a lint free cloth to get the remaining dirt. Don’t forget to clean the side walls of your skis.
2. The Best Case Scenario
Your skis were cleaned in the spring, summer wax was applied and they have been properly stored.
Step 1: Remove the summer wax. Using a sharp plastic scraper and, if you have one, a groove scraper, remove all the summer wax from your skis; don’t forget the side walls of your skis.
Step 2: clean your bindings. Using silicon spray ..clean out the dirt that may be in the binding mechanism and lubricate the binding with light machine oil or silicone spray .
Step 3: check your poles. Check the straps to see if there is any wear. If yes, bring them to a shoe repair shop to have them repaired or, replace them. You can use a file to sharpen the ski tips.
Step 4: clean your boots. Use a clean cloth and silicon spray to clean the bottoms of your boots. Check the laces and replace if necessary.
Step 5: Wax your skis. If you are working on classic skis , wax less skis or skate skis, you want to apply glide wax to the glide zones of your skis . Easiest way? A glide wipe ( like a baby bottom wipe!) applied to the glide zone .. let it dry for at least 2 minutes. Next easiest? Use a glide wax in an aerosol can . Least easy? With the aid of an iron, apply glide wax ( blue glide wax is probably best for those without the entire range of waxes) to the base of your ski in the glide zone , scrape with a plastic scraper, brush with a nylon and horsehair brush ( or both) and the glide zones are ready. For classic skis, apply the wax of the day and you are ready to go!
1. Clean the skis with a citrus solvent; dry thoroughly and follow step 5 above to wax the glide zones of your skis. You can buy a wax for wax less skis; it improves the grip of your skis but is a little more difficult to remove because of the scale pattern. If your wax less skis use a ‘hairy ‘strip for grip, do NOT apply grip wax.
Classic (wax-able) or skate skis (follow the steps below or bring your skis to a store that does stone grinding/hot box operations)
1. Clean the ski with a citrus solvent and a lint free cloth.
2. Using a rough fibretex pad ( like one of those green kitchen scouring pad ) work the bases – the longer the strokes the better , consistently in one direction ..most say tip-to-tail of the ski. The more you do this, the better the result will be – most techs say 100 times per ski.
3. Apply a warm wax ( red/white) with an iron; scrape with a sharp plastic scraper; brush with a copper/brass brush. Do this at least 3 times ( you are trying to open the pores in the plastic base of your skis and impregnate the base with wax).
4. Apply a harder glide wax (blue) , scrape and brush ( brass brush) .
5. Apply a layer of warmer wax ( yellow) , scrape and brush(nylon brush).
6. Apply another layer of blue glide wax, scrape and brush (brass) .
7. Apply a layer of molybdenum glide wax, scrape and brush and,
8. Finally, apply the wax of the day, scrape and brush. Always finish brushing with a horse hair brush that removes static electricity created by nylon brushes.
Why should I join the ski club?
This is best answered by our club’s President Frank Roscoe
I don’t believe that I have ever been asked the question, “Why should I join a ski club?”. However, I have often been asked about the programs and services my own club offers and find that the answer to the first question is contained in my response to the second.
Club membership is all about access and belonging. Access has many components; first and foremost, access to the skill development programs. Youth members, the main focus of our attentions, can begin a program of skill enhancement at the Bunnyrabbit, Jackrabbit or Track Attack level and could end up wearing Canadian colours in international competition. This skill development is provided in a loosely structured environment where the emphasis is on learning enjoyment and instruction is provided by trained and increasingly qualified instructors. Skiers who are poorly self taught seldom get all that they can out of the sport.
Even if the young skier never aspires to competition level skiing, he or she learns a skill set that is life long.
For those clubs with trails and facilities, membership means access. A day of cross country skiing is far more enjoyable when you start off in a properly equipped wax room, ski on marked and groomed trails, and have access to washrooms and canteens. More and more clubs also have lit trails for night-time skiing and training.
In this age of communication, club membership also means ready access to publications and information about skiing distributed via clubs. Within the club structure, there will be someone with the information and registrations forms for events such as races and loppets. The pamphlet rack at the local multi-sports store is a poor substitute.
Clubs are the focal point for clinics and courses. Whether it is to improve your own skiing or your teaching skills, the conduit for what you need is most often a club. In addition, in most divisions, access to these clinics is restricted to those who are club members.
Club membership is required to race and coach at competitive levels that lead to provincial or national team membership. Licensing of racers is contingent upon club membership.
The second major reason for joining a club, “belonging”, is less concrete than facilities, instruction and trails but is no less important. Joining a club fulfils a basic human need of belonging. Belonging, being identified as part of something, is important to the youth who are the prime targets of the skill development programs. If your club has a recognizable symbol and a way of displaying it, a T-shirt, jacket or toque, all the better. It is heartening to see people sharing skiing experiences in the middle of summer after, having recognized the t-shirt, they use it as an ice breaker. For adults, membership means contacts. Most adults want basic technique instruction or, in rarer instances, more intensive training. What those in each circumstance wants most is someone to ski with. When these people have someone to share the activity with, they tend to go skiing more often and enjoy the experience more.
And finally, belonging also implies a commitment. If you join something, you have added impetus to participate regularly. How many times have you spoken with someone who, knowing that you are a skier, laments the fact that they only got out once or twice in the past season or, was that once in the past two seasons? They meant to go more often but other things keep coming up. . .. but it will be different this year.
No, it won’t.
Join a club; access the programs and services, make that commitment and belong.
Where can I buy equipment?
There are many ski shops in the area. A nice one if you have children is Fresh Air Experience, which offers a trade in program. There are many members who have made use of this service who would be willing to share their experiences.
See our links.
Please make sure you take your time when you go ski equipment shopping, as it is important to get equipment that is properly suited to you. Make sure you try on your potential boots in the store and wear them around for a while. Don’t be afraid to ask for help!
Where can I go skiing?
There are many places to ski within the city and surrounding area, some more challenging than others. Here are a few.
- offers trails for all levels, classic and skate…why not make a day out of it?
Hornet’s Nest/Green’s Greek
- classic only, good for beginner to intermediate skiers
- classic only, good for beginner skiers
- classic and skate, beginner to intermediate, lit at night