CROSS COUNTRY SKIING KIT LIST
The main thing to consider when preparing to come cross country skiing (especially skating) is that it is an aerobic sport. This means you are going to sweat, whether you like it or not! You get hot very quickly so will need clothes that wick the sweat away so that it doesn't hang around in your clothes and cool you down. Combined with this, there is also a significant wind chill factor in the descents, due to the speeds reached. So you have to be prepared for heating up in the ascents and cooling down in the descents. What to wear cross country skiing can really affect your experience so it is worth getting it right and making sure you have the flexibility of layers!
Cross country skiing specific clothing is designed bearing these factors in mind. They are made from wicking materials and the fronts are often made from a windproof fabric. If you don't have any special items of clothing, it doesn't matter, there are several important items that you probably have in your wardrobe.
- 3 thin layers - a thin t-shirt made from a wicking material rather than cotton next to the skin is invaluable. You will also need a mid weight fleece to keep you warm. On top of that we recommend either a windproof sleeveless top or a soft shell / light gortex for those cold or snowy days.
- Thermal leggings – they will keep you warm and dry during the descents! Try and make sure they are breathable too.
- Breathable socks - generally cross country skiing boots are much more comfortable than normal ski boots. However, if you are hiring them, it's probably best to wear thicker socks to avoid any rubbing (and to keep your feet warm). Walking socks are perfect.
- Thin gloves - a pair of windproof fleece gloves or winter mountain biking gloves are perfect. You have to be able to feel and grip the poles well.
- Bandana or fleece beanie – it's important to keep your ears warm, and stop the heat escaping on those colder days.
- Small rucksack or water carrier – a small rucksack with a platypus in is a good idea. The type of bag that sits high on your shoulders without a waist strap but good chest fastening so it doesn’t move up and down when you ski, is perfect. You can also find a water holder that fastens around your waist, a bit like a bum bag. Either way, you need water, and lots of it!
- Energy bars or gels – in races there are refreshment stops on route but it is best to be self-sufficient with your own energy bars or gels.
- Sun screen – if you usually use factor 15 in the UK bring factor 30 for here and factor 50 for your face and neck. It's deceiving but the sun is very strong, even in the winter and lip salve with sunscreen is advised.