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Skating or alternative? What you might not know about cross-country skiing


A new public is turning to this Nordic discipline since the closure of the ski lifts. What you need to know before putting on your skis.

An affordable ski pass, a more or less sporty outing within sumptuous mountain landscapes... Nordic skiing or cross-country skiing has been growing in popularity for five years.

The Covid pandemic, followed in winter 2020/2021 by the closure of the ski lifts, has put the discipline in full light.

Despite all this sport sometimes remains unknown.

Skating or classic?

Cross-country skiing or biathlon?

Slip or grip?

Our answers to all these questions to be unbeatable on the slopes.

Read alsoCross-country skiing: our 10 favorite resorts in France

What is Nordic skiing?

A natural version of skiing, Nordic skiing combines cross-country skiing as well as biathlon or Nordic hiking, more commonly known as backcountry.

Discovered in antiquity in Scandinavia, more precisely in Norway, Nordic skiing originally offered man the assurance of a quick and simple way to move and hunt.

It was only at the end of the 19th century that the discipline took on a more sporting and playful aspect until it entered the Winter Olympics in 1924 in Chamonix.

Since that time, the discipline has not ceased to structure itself, the material with and the public, it has expanded and diversified.

That's for the big story.

For the rest, Nordic skiing is not just bearded men sticking to the depths of the forest.

It is a discipline with its codes.

Its language and its techniques.

Classic or “alternative” style (on the left) and skating (on the right), here with the sumptuous panorama of La Clusaz (Haute-Savoie).

Jesse Vaänanen

Read alsoOslo, the city where you go skiing by metro

Skating or classic cross-country skiing, what are the differences?

Cross-country skiing is practiced either in classic style, also known as “alternative” or “Gallic” style, or in skating style.

The first is the oldest.

It consists of a step sliding in two parallel tracks.

Skating is more popular.

Sportier too.

It offers greater sensations of speed, and it is popular with the youngest.

The appearance of skating dates back to the 1970s. Originally, athletes were looking for a way to gain speed.

Wearing classic skis, while keeping one foot in the track, they carried out a lateral push with the other foot.

They then took the two skis out of the track and developed the movement that became established ten years later.

Read alsoCross-country skiing, snowshoeing... The Jura, temple of Nordic activities

Cross-country ski equipment in skating or classic what are the differences?

The material for the practice of the classic is not the same as for skating.

The skis used for the classic style are larger and have a pointed tip.

Conversely, in skating, the skis are smaller and their tips are rounded.

In classic style, the shoes are low to favor the rotation of the ankle while in skating they are high for a support, during the lateral push, of the ankle.

Same thing for the sticks.

You will not be able to use your larger skating poles for classic skiing which requires smaller poles.

Read alsoNordic skiing, snowshoeing... Vercors, our winter guide

Skiing, size of poles, shoes... The equipment is very different from one variant of cross-country skiing to another.

Here "skins".

Clement Hudry

Can you ski with synthetic skins like in ski touring?

The classic style is to obtain the perfect compromise between glide and grip.

Top athletes use grip wax.

These are different wax colors and consistencies depending on the snow.

To try the experiment is to play the apprentice chemist if you do not master the codes.

Until ten years ago, scales under the base were the only alternative to grip wax.

Not sexy, noisy... That didn't make the discipline very attractive.

The appearance of skins, skis with synthetic skins that resemble those used in ski touring, has democratized access to the practice.

Today, you practice classic skiing like skating: from the car to the track without going through the waxing box.

Read alsoNordic or “backcountry” ski touring: the guide to get you started

Is biathlon cross-country skiing?

It's a phrase that makes you smile on the ski slopes: “I don't want to do cross-country skiing, I want to do biathlon”.

The two are inseparable.

Biathlon combines two disciplines, shooting and cross-country skiing.

If it is not useful to know how to hold a rifle to try biathlon, it is, on the other hand, necessary to know how to slide on cross-country skis to get started.

For the past ten years, the majority of French Nordic areas have been equipped with launch pads.

The ESF (Ecole du Ski Français) offer supervision on shooting sessions at 10 m.

In stations with a firing point at 50 m - among which, among others, Féclaz, Les Saisies, Bessans (Savoie), Autrans, Col de Porte (Isère), Grand-Bornand, Les Contamines (Haute -Savoie), Les Rousses, Plans d'Hotonnes (Jura), Font-Romeu (Pyrenees)-, it is possible to shoot the 22 long Rifle like the athletes of the World Cup.

Source: lefigaro

All news articles on 2023-01-07

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