Here are some other important things to know before you get started:
There are many types of wax for cross-country skiing, all with different purposes. Basically though, wax helps your skis glide. Beginners should use grip wax, something that has a wide temperature range and can be easily applied.
If you're not comfortable choosing or applying the wax, many sporting goods stores will wax your skis for about ten dollars if you bring them in. If you choose to do it on your own, you will need wax, cork (to rub the wax in), a scraper (to remove old wax), and an iron to melt the wax on the skis.
Dress well and wear layers that can be adjusted to your level of activity and the weather. First, start with a base layer (covering both your top and bottom). This clothing should always be breathable and shed water. This layer is often referred to as long johns. The next layer, the insulating, should not be cotton or down because, if wet, they will no longer keep you warm. Synthetic down is acceptable though. The outer layer should be windbreaker material.
The best options for any layer will be both breathable and waterproof. Gators are also a great investment, as they keep snow out of your boots.
More: How to Layer This Winter
Cross-country skiing, like many winter sports, can be dangerous if you're not prepared for the elements. Here are a few ways to ensure a safe and enjoyable outing:
- Check your equipment before leaving the house.
- Bring extra materials, like glue and duct tape, should you need to make any repairs.
- Always carry a first-aid kit.
- Be aware of changing conditions in the weather
- Stay within your limits.
- Know avalanche safety before heading into the backcountry.
- Know the signs of hypothermia.
- Always leave a plan with someone.
- Bring snacks and water as you'll be burning a lot of calories.
Most areas with snow will have plenty of options for cross-country skiing, some free and some with a charge. When it comes to free, many hiking trails are often converted into ski trails, city parks can be utilized, and sometimes golf courses offer their land to the sport.
The places that charge usually have well-groomed trails and aren't as crowded; these options are usually privately owned land, such as ranches. For more information visit http://www.xcski.org/.
Sign up for a ski class.