Is Cross Country Skiing Hard?

Cross country skiing can be difficult at first if you have never tried it before. I don’t think it’s as hard as alpine skiing, as far as skills go. But it can be much more demanding in terms of the physical effort required to move across the snow.

I’m an avid skier who loves all forms of the sport. While I alpine ski most of the time, I have spent many days on cross country trails over the years. I know through first-hand experience how challenging this type of skiing can be. 

This post will explain why cross country skiing can be hard. I’ll highlight some challenges you can expect when trying it and provide you with other helpful information. 

Let’s get started. 

Cross Country Skiing is Hard for Beginners

If you have never tried cross country skiing before, it can be hard to pick up at first. This is especially true if you have experience downhill or alpine skiing. It’s a different sport altogether and does not feel the same, even though there are a few similarities. 

Beginner cross country skiers can struggle to get a feel for it. You don’t have stiff boots or secure bindings, making things feel unsteady as you try to move across the snow. It can be difficult to keep your balance. 

After a few days (or even a few hours) of cross country skiing, most people pick up the basics and can easily move across the snow. In this sense, cross country skiing is easier to learn and become better at more quickly than downhill skiing. 

Cross Country Skiing is Serious Exercise

The most challenging aspect of cross country skiing is the energy and effort involved in it. It’s a serious form of exercise that can be extremely demanding and strenuous. Some people love it because of this. But if you aren’t in good athletic shape, it can be more than difficult. 

You don’t have gravity on your side all of the time when cross country skiing. You need to work your way across flat and uphill sections of trails using your body as an engine. There are no ski lifts or gondolas for you to use. 

This means you need to push, step, and skate your way across the snow. While there are sometimes downhill sections of a Nordic trail, you’ll be using human power most of the time. And this is hard work!

If you love exercise and want to get in really good shape, cross country skiing is a great way to accomplish both of those things. If you love skiing downhill and don’t want to exert yourself physically, you probably aren’t going to like cross country skiing.

Is Cross Country Skiing the Hardest Sport? 

This is a pretty tough question to answer directly because it depends on multiple factors and can vary from individual to individual. I would say that cross country skiing is one of the hardest winter sports in terms of how much effort and energy is needed. 

Ski touring is very similar to cross country skiing in that you need to get across the snow without using any assistance from ski lifts. This is a significant challenge that makes it unappealing to some people. 

But once you get the hang of things and get in better shape, cross country skiing isn’t necessarily that difficult. Compared to other challenging sports requiring years of experience of high skill levels, I don’t think cross country skiing is the hardest. 

Different people will obviously have different experiences, but you can learn the basics of cross country skiing in a few days. Some competitive or very specialty sports can take years to even get to a proficient level. 

Final Thoughts

Cross country skiing is definitely a challenging activity. It’s an intense form of exercise and can take some getting used to when first learning the basic technique involved in moving yourself across the snow. 

But if you put in the effort and have an interest in it, cross country skiing isn’t that difficult to learn.

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