Cross country Skiing

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Cross-Country skiing is a sport and technique of traveling over snow-covered surfaces with the feet attached to long, narrow runners known as skis. The skis distribute the skier's weight over a larger area, preventing the skier from sinking into the snow. Three kinds of skiing have developed: Alpine, Nordic, and Freestyle. Alpine, or downhill, skiing is movement down steep slopes; in races, victory is decided by elapsed time. Nordic, or Cross-Country, skiing, is movement over relatively level surfaces; racing involves covering short and long, prearranged courses in the shortest time. An important subcategory of Nordic ski races is ski jumping, movement down a vertical surface (called a ski jump); the distance jumped and the skier's flight are evaluated. Since the 1980s freestyle skiing, for fun and in competition, has become popular. Equipment The basic equipment, although varies somewhat, is essentially similar for all types of skiing. Skis are made of strips of shaped wood, metal, or synthetic material that can be attached to a specially designed ski boot; the hard resistant surface of the skis, maintained by application of special ski waxes, produces high speed in moving over packed snow. Skis vary in length according to the skier's height and can reach 1.8 to 2.1 m (6 to 7 ft) long. Ski width also varies, from 7 to 10 cm (3 to 4 in) in the front, tapering slightly inward in the middle and widening at the rear; the front tip of the ski curves upward. Downhill skis are shorter and wider than cross-country skis. Flat-soled, ankle-high boots are an important item of equipment; rigid leather and plastic boots are used for downhill skiing and lighter, more flexible boots, with nylon or leather uppers, for cross-country. The downhill boot is attached to the ski by a binding that clips at the heel and toe and affords flexibility and safety in the event of a fall. The cross-country boot attaches to the ski by a toe binding, leaving the heel free to flex up and down for the kickoff step. Ski poles, commonly 1.2 to 1.5 m (4 to 5 ft) in length, are used for balance and for movement; they are made of light metal tubing, with handgrips, straps and a small disk at the bottom that allows a firm hold in the snow. Cross-Country Skiing Cross-country (Nordic) skiing places greater emphasis on endurance and strength, with less of an emphasis on speed. Although, in competitions, the average time for a 15-km (9-mi) race is about 50 minutes; for the longer course of 48 km (30 mi) or so, a time of 2 hours, 45 minutes is regularly achieved. Conventional distances to be covered vary from 5 to 50 km (3 to 30 mi) or more in length. Courses are distinguished with colored markers, so that competitors can follow the same approximate route. Altitude variations are modest because the essential movement is horizontal and not vertical. Historically, cross-country racing developed out of the need for a mode of transportation. In its non-competitive aspects, it is a sport in which old and young alike may participate. Although not well adapted to heavily wooded areas, cross- country is practicable throughout the world and, unlike alpine skiing, does not depend on special slopes, mechanical ski tows, and the use of artificial snow. The fundamental cross-country stride combines a kickoff step with one foot and a gliding step with the other. These steps alternate smoothly and rapidly; the ski pole in one hand is planted down as the opposite leg begins its kickoff. Several variations to this basic stride allow for upward and downward movement and necessary maneuverability and provide for some degree of rest from continuous exertion. In the skating technique, developed in the 1980s, a skier moves in a side-to-side motion, pushing off on the inside of the ski. Waxing To ensure easy movement over the snow, skier's rub an application of special non-friction ski waxes. This allows them to slide easily and effortlessly over the snow. Without wax skiing would be difficult and tedious, and only slo

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