6 Steps to Prepare for Cross-Country Skiing

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Cross-country skiing is a fun way to switch up your normal routine while continuing to build fitness and strength through Winter. Plus, it gives you the chance to enjoy the outdoors.

For advice on how to make cross-country skiing as easy as possible, we turned to Paul Kuznia, director of the Taconic Outdoor Education Center who oversees the Fahnestock Winter Park in Cold Spring, New York. An hour from New York City, this 14,000 square acre state park offers 9 miles of groomed trails for all levels of skiers.

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Kuznia was a collegiate runner who was recruited to fill a slot in a cross-country skiing race. He never looked back. "The sport requires a lot of dynamic balance, strength and endurance," Kuznia said. Developing these skills help in a variety of other sports including swimming, running and cycling.

To make it easy on yourself next time it snows, do some preliminary preparation.

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1) Choose Your Venue in Advance

The advantage of cross-country skiing is that you can ski just about anywhere as long as there is snow. Start talking to people who actively pursue the sport. Many public and private golf courses will quietly allow skiers to take advantage of the conditions. Some public parks open their trails and grounds to skiers, as well. And, of course, many downhill and dedicated cross-country resorts offer a wide variety of skiing options.

2) Source Your Equipment

Find out if you can rent skis in your area. Because the costs (and margins) on the equipment are very low, few stores may rent the equipment. Though this might limit your initial foray in the sport, many resorts have renting options.

3) Plan Your Attire

Start with your winter fitness clothes. They're generally wind resistance, tight, and have some handy pockets for food, mobile phones and car keys. You can also turn to the running clothes you would use for similar temperatures.

Your final option would be the top and bottom shell from your downhill skiing attire with a very light layer underneath. Remember, you will get hot soon after starting your trek.

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