Folks new to Nordic skiing often make a common mistake – dressing too warmly. I’ll admit that the first time I tried cross country skiing I was sweltering in alpine ski pants, long underwear, a fleece and a ski parka. I felt like the Wicked Witch of the West and believe at one point that I actually declared, “I’m melting!”
Nordic skiing is a serious aerobic workout. Which means you’ll be working up a sweat. So the key to staying comfortable and having the mobility to kick, glide or skate means light layers designed specifically for cross country skiing rather than the heavy, bulky alpine variety.
Not sure where to start? The White Pine Nordic Center is fully stocked with everything that budding and seasoned Nordic skiers need to stay warm and dry, no matter what the conditions. New this year is the Halti line of cross country gear, made in Finland for diehard Nordic skiers. The Halti WorldCup Jacket resembles an alpine ski soft shell, and is just the ticket for early morning skates or when the mercury remains in the single digits well into the afternoon. My personal favorite is the women’s purple print that has just the right bit of panache. Pair it with a lightweight base layer, CW-X Insulator Stabilyx Tights and a Skhoop Mini Skirt (only available at the Nordic Center) and you’ll be stylish enough for lunch or après ski after your workout.
Available in both men’s and women’s styles, the CW-X Stabilyx Tights not only provide the flex and stretch ability that Nordic skiers demand, but include the added benefit of increasing circulation to prevent lactic acid buildup. To ensure that the support web on these tights does its thing, make sure that your kneecap fits right in the center of the diamond design. I have a pair of these compression tights and can personally attest that they help me recover from long skates up serious hills, so I’m ready to hit the track again the next day.
For guys who don’t like the Nordic tights look, the Bjorn Daehlie Champion Pants are an equally lightweight alternative in a slim fit. Throw the Halti Aska Men’s Vest over a base layer on warm days or wear the Halti Alkula Jacket on brisk mornings and you’ll be ready for a day on the track.
And don’t forget lightweight gloves and hats. Gone are the days of wool hats for Nordic skiing. The newest styles are made of polyknit fabric to wick sweat while keeping your ears warm. Nordic specific gloves are key for keeping your digits toasty while still providing the finger dexterity that you need when cross country skiing. The Swix Krystal Gloves are one of our favorites thanks to the Primaloft insulation and venting technology that keeps hands dry when working up a sweat. You’ll find yourself wearing these for more than just Nordic skiing – jogging, snowshoeing or simply walking the dog.
Do yourself a favor and layer accordingly the next time you head out to Nordic ski. You’ll be happier, more comfortable and look like you know what you’re doing. Even if your technique doesn’t rival that of an Olympian.
Liz Yokubison, Senior Editor of Jans.com