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#13808 - 12/10/04 04:15 PM beginning in Finland - some VERY basic questions...

Hi, I'm from the UK but will be spending a few days in Finnish Lapland this Christmas and plan to try out some XC skiing. The hotel I'm staying at rents skis. I've no idea what type, but assume they will be whatever is considered standard or normal in Finland. This hotel is sort of out of the way, not in a very touristy place but next to lots of XC ski tracks. Now, I have done a tiny bit of XC before when I was a kid. Those skis had a herring-bone pattern for gripping when going forwards, so from my recent research I assume they were trad. style rather than "skate" style. I can sort of remember how to do it and what it feels like. But..... far more recently I've done quite a bit of in-line skating (rollerblading). So, I'm wondering 1) Is it likely I'll be able to rent trad or skate style skis, or both, from my Finnish hotel? 2) Which style am I best starting off with, given my background? 3) If the skis are trad. style, are they likely to have the herring-bone type patterning or will they need to be waxed? 4) Is there any real difference between trad. style skis that need to be waxed and skate style skis? From my memory of the skis I used as a kid, there was only a little plastic ridge to keep the heel in place when your foot was flat. I can't imagine how you could exert a sideways, skating-style force with this sort of equiment without your heel slipping....

#13809 - 12/10/04 07:24 PM Re: beginning in Finland - some VERY basic questions...
stimpy Offline
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Registered: 04/08/02
Posts: 243

1. Considering that XC skiing is pratically a religion over there, I imagine you should be able to rent both. Just keep in mind that to skate ski, you need trails that are groomed for it.
2. Unless you have skate skiing experience, and it sounds like you don't, stick with classic (trad). Skating requires a lot more techniqe and strength. Just try skate skiing uphill. On the other hand if you roller blade a lot, you probably have both, so give it a shot. If you can walk, you can most likely ski classic.
3. Who knows? waxless skis may be sacreligious over there, but I doubt it. Most rental skis are waxless, otherwise they would have to spend a lot of time & expense prepping them every time they were rented.
4. Waxable classic skis are the same construction as waxless classic skis, the only difference is the pattern. You can usually buy both a waxable and waxless version of most classic skis. There is a big difference between skate and classic skis. Skate skis are shorter, narrower and a lot stiffer. For skate skiing, the bindings have a ridge in the middle that runs the length of the boot , and the boot has a hollow that it fits in. So when your foot is flat on the ski you can exert a lot of sideways force.

Have a great time in Finny.
Just another Mike on

#13810 - 12/11/04 04:28 PM Re: beginning in Finland - some VERY basic questions... [Re: stimpy]

Thanks Mike. A Finn I spoke to just recenently said that she hadn't seen the waxless type of skis very often. She didn't seem too shocked at the concept, though, so I guess they're not herectical :-) I think the trails I'll be on are more the touring-round-the-countryside type rather than specially maintained racing ones, so I'm guessing now that classic skis will be the norm. Cheers, Neil.

#13811 - 12/31/04 12:33 AM skate vs classical
phlan Offline

Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/11/00
Posts: 2776
Loc: Gardiner, NY
skate is actually easier to learn than classical... it may seem harder but once you learn the basics it´s really not that hard. granted you do have to have some basic coordination and athleticism to do it, but you need that for both to really do them in the correct way...
BTW both types of XC skiing use the back muscles a lot (many of the same used for climbing) so that it pays off and maintains your strength or improves it.
to learn to classic ski well there are a myriad of nuances that after almost 30 years of trying they seem really difficult to bring together in an elegant form.
Granted, it is easy to shuffle along but you can do that with any boards. Personally, I really want to put the time and effort into learning a truly masterful classical technique because it would really pay off enjoyment-wise.
finland... I am jealous! have a blast.
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