Cross-country Skiing - Torino 2006, XX Winter Olympic Games
This sport has been used by explorers by means of transport, and all Scandinavian armies train their infantry on skis for winter operations. Traditionally, all of the equipment was made of natural materials: wooden skis and bamboo poles with leather hand straps. Footwear was usually sturdy leather boots with thick soles. Bindings evolved from simple straps made of twisted wood-based thread, to the so-called Kandahar binding with the fastening of both the boot’s front and back, to the ‘Rat’s Trap’ front-only binding, which became various modern bindings.
RULES OF CROSS-COUNTRY SKIING
The Classical technique was the first technique that was used and although not the
fastest (in the same way as the breaststroke swimming technique) it is still used today
by many, especially beginners, as it tends to be the simpler easier to learn, but take many years to get really good.
The classical style is often performed on prepared trails (pistes) that have pairs of parallel grooves cut into the snow, one for each ski, and consequently a special long, narrow and light ski is usually used. The skis used either have a fish-scale underside, or ski wax is applied to the central section in the centre of the ski, so that when the skier kicks the ski into the snow it grips, allowing the skier to move forward.
- Skating: The skating Technique, developed as a result of racing and is harder to learn but once mastered the skiers can travel much faster. Skating can also be mastered faster than classical.
- Free: Free technique involves the skier pushing one ski outward with the ski angled, so that the inner edge of the ski is driven against the snow, much like an ice skater.
- Continuous Pursuit: this recently developed style includes races where the competitors complete the first part of the event using the classic technique and the second part using the free technique.
- Telemark: Telemarking is a technique used to go down hill on Cross country skis. Usually the skiers will use the classical technique for going up the hill and telemarking to ski down steep downhills. This technique is particularly suited to backcountry skiing (off piste cross-country skiing).