What to Pack

Cross-country skiing is an excellent way to stay active during the winter months. The sport is fun, fast-paced, and low-impact, meaning your joints won’t be strained during a day on the trail. Though not quite as fast as its downhill cousin, cross-country skiing is exciting in its own right. However, Nordic and alpine have more in common than the inclusion of skis–both require careful packing and planning for a safe and successful day.

Basic XC gear includes skis (with bindings), boots, and poles. You should always bring a daypack with essential edibles. Unlike Alpine skiing, Nordic skiing can bring athletes several miles away from the launching point. If the area is unfamiliar, you may have trouble locating resources in case of an emergency; to avoid this, pack enough food and water to get you through the day.

To that end, navigating an unfamiliar part of the woods can be difficult—especially if the trails are not clearly marked. To decrease your odds of getting lost, always bring a cell phone and portable charger. If you do not have a smartphone, a GPS will do the trick. Similarly, pack a compass and—if available—a trail or topo map to guide you out of the woods. Protect your eyes from sun and wind with a pair of sunglasses and you’re almost good to go.

If you do find yourself off-trail, you should have the clothing necessary to keep you warm for several hours. It is therefore essential to dress in layers while cross-country skiing. Moving will increase your body temperature, causing you to perpetrate; when you stop, your body temperature will decrease, and excess sweat can become dangerous. Bring enough clothing to be warm when standing still, and be sure to bring a bottle of sunscreen to protect exposed skin from the sun’s rays.

See below for an easy-to-print list of our XC skiing essentials.

[ ] Daypack
[ ] Food
[ ] Water
[ ] Cellphone (or GPS)
[ ] Portable phone charger
[ ] Compass
[ ] Trail or Topo map
[ ] Sunscreen
[ ] Sunglasses