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Thread: Can Anyone Tell me How I Can Learn to XC Ski?

  1. #1
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    Default Can Anyone Tell me How I Can Learn to XC Ski?

    OF course I have googled it, but how can I learn to XC ski. I went to Play-it-Again sports to ask about it but they were to busy and some guy basically just said rent some skis and go learn. Great advice, but I like to know a little about it before I just jump on some skis. It is really frustrating trying to learn something new as an older guy. I was hoping to use it to get in better shape and burn some calories. Thanks for any info.

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    You might try getting in touch with these folks: http://www.anchoragenordicski.com/

    Louis
    Louis Knapp

  3. #3

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    Rent or buy a set of classical skis in the appropriate size and go find some groomed trails. Some good trails around Anchorage are at Kincaid park and around Cambell Creek Science Center. It's fairly easy and it will just take time to get used to the motions. If you want to skate ski that will take more time and may require lessons from a professional. Good luck it's great fun!
    "When the time comes for a man to look his Maker in the eye, where better could the meeting be held than in the wilderness?"

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    Alaska State Parks is hosting a winter trails day in Hatcher Pass next Saturday, Jan 07. You will be able to rent skis for free and get a free intro to classic skiing lesson. There are several other trail-related events too. Give them a call if you have questions. sounds like exactly what you're looking for. Might be able to try more than 1 type of classic skis. There are skate skiing lessons too, but I think you will enjoy classic skiing much more. Do it! you won't regret it.

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    Member hodgeman's Avatar
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    Not to sounds snide, but the "Play it Again" guy was probably pretty spot on....go rent a set and try them. I learned to XC a few years ago just that way. A trail day event is a great idea, but not entirely required. Its really an activity that has to be tried hands on as everyone will approach it in a slightly different way.

    The way I think of XC is that the basic motions are pretty easily learned in a morning watching Youtube (there are so excellent ones out there) and an afternoon out on a local flat land trail- in fact my entire family learned that way. Simply watch what others are doing and try to mimic that. The basics are not very complicated and you'll be about 95% of the way there at the end of the very first day...the remaining 5% will take the rest of your life to master.

    Keep in mind how the effort you put into skiing is translated in forward motion is largely dependent on trail and snow conditions so if it seems hard its probably just rotten snow and not bad technique. Practice kicking and whatever glide you get is bonus.

    You can boggle your mind trying to decipher all the different gear and techniques and waxing and so forth you'll find- but that is, largely, folks complicating a dead simple activity.

    Let us know how it goes!

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    Quote Originally Posted by hodgeman View Post
    Not to sounds snide, but the "Play it Again" guy was probably pretty spot on....go rent a set and try them. I learned to XC a few years ago just that way. A trail day event is a great idea, but not entirely required. Its really an activity that has to be tried hands on as everyone will approach it in a slightly different way.

    The way I think of XC is that the basic motions are pretty easily learned in a morning watching Youtube (there are so excellent ones out there) and an afternoon out on a local flat land trail- in fact my entire family learned that way. Simply watch what others are doing and try to mimic that. The basics are not very complicated and you'll be about 95% of the way there at the end of the very first day...the remaining 5% will take the rest of your life to master.

    Keep in mind how the effort you put into skiing is translated in forward motion is largely dependent on trail and snow conditions so if it seems hard its probably just rotten snow and not bad technique. Practice kicking and whatever glide you get is bonus.

    You can boggle your mind trying to decipher all the different gear and techniques and waxing and so forth you'll find- but that is, largely, folks complicating a dead simple activity.

    Let us know how it goes!
    I don't have a problem with what the PIA guy told me. I just think it is irresponsible for me personally to blindly get some skis and go try to ski. I want to know something about it first.

  7. #7
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    Rent some no wax skis, use a groomed trail to start, get some good gators, cold wet feet is not fun. Shorter skis are easier to use than longer skis (for the beginner) Be prepared to fall down a lot. Trust your poles and use them. Go slow and smooth at first, speed will come later.
    REI has classes I think.
    Don't expect to be fast or agile any time soon skinny skiiing takes time. (It is worth it.)

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    Supporting Member iofthetaiga's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PAcWest View Post
    I don't have a problem with what the PIA guy told me. I just think it is irresponsible for me personally to blindly get some skis and go try to ski. I want to know something about it first.
    No one can give you ski lessons online. The best advice is to seek personal instruction. You can take formal lessons, or hook up with someone willing to show you the ropes. There's lots to cross country skiing that is not intuitive, and receiving good instruction will make the difference between becoming frustrated and quitting, or becoming successful and having fun. Prior downhill skiing experience is not necessarily advantageous nor desirable; in fact it's often a detriment. Ice skaters, especially hockey players on the other hand, are usually quite easy to teach to x-c ski. Important note: generally, spouses who are smart do not take or receive ski lessons from their partner. Ski instructors exist to preserve marital relationships! Hook up with a skier, determine what flavor x-c skiing you're interested in, get some appropriate gear recommendations based on what your interested in, and hit the trails a few times with your instructor (professional or otherwise), and you'll be off and skiing. Attempting to give you any additional advice about gear selection, or other basics of how to get started, online, is simply doing you a disservice.
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  9. #9

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    There are multiple ski instruction groups out there that cater to everyone, from the beginner to the elite, national/world cup skiers. Here are a few to check with:

    Alaska Winter Stars
    APU (Alaska Pacific University) - although they use the name, they are essentially independant from the school and have ski training groups of all ages and abilities.
    Alaska Nordic Racing
    Municipality of Anchorage
    Nordic Ski Association of Anchorage Parks and Recreation

    There are some other smaller, independant coaching options out there, but I don't know the quick way to get in touch with them.

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    If you rent skis make sure the person you rent them from takes the time to get correctly sized boots, skis and poles for you. There's nothing more frustrating for a beginner than trying to learn x-country skiing with improperly sized gear.

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    Supporting Member iofthetaiga's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alpinist View Post
    If you rent skis make sure the person you rent them from takes the time to get correctly sized boots, skis and poles for you. There's nothing more frustrating for a beginner than trying to learn x-country skiing with improperly sized gear.
    Absolutely true! Same for gear improperly matched to terrain/conditions you will be learning in. (example: trying to learn on non-metal edged track or touring skis, in terrain/trail conditions calling for metal edges, etc., will result in a miserable experience). Personal instruction will get you off on the right foot.
    ...he who knows nothing is nearer to truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods & errors. ~Thomas Jefferson
    I would rather have a mind opened by wonder than one closed by belief. ~Gerry Spence
    The last thing Alaska needs is another bigot. ~member Catch It
    #Resist

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    Another tip for newbie x-country skiers. Wear wicking, breathable clothing in layers. You are going to sweat...a lot! With a little experience you will become more efficient in your motions and better able to regulate your temperature.

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    If you ever get up around Palmer area let me know, I live up Palmer/Fishhook and will take you out and show you the basics. We have some groomed trails close-by, and even some flat areas to learn on.

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    one tip that works for others I have helped. To propel yourself foward, pretend you are walking on a sandy beach, as you are walking along curl you toes and try to throw sand behind you. Of coarse you wont be curling your toes in xcountry boots but if you try to imitate this motion it will give you a basic technique to help you get started. Mickey

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