Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Cross Country Skiing for Health and Wellness

Chase away those winter blues while getting in shape: Cross Country Skiing is the perfect way to get out and enjoy the scenic winter wonderland of the Hudson Valley!  This popular and healthy outdoor winter activity can be fun for the whole family and provides an excellent aerobic workout which will have you looking and feeling your best by spring.

Most people know how important it is to remain active in the winter months, but with snow on the ground it can be difficult to get motivated.  While we all have the best intentions of hitting the gym from time to time, the prospect of watching sitcoms under florescent lights while pacing on a treadmill hardly inspires enthusiasm.

Cross country skiing is a great alternative!  You’ll love getting out in the sunshine to explore the beautiful natural winter landscapes found at popular Hudson Valley cross country ski destinations.  With more than 18 km of groomed trails with sweeping Hudson Valley and Catskill views, nearby Minnewaska State Park is popular choice.

Cross Country Skiing not only tones and strengthens every major muscle group; it also provides an excellent cardio-vascular workout.  Just an hour on the trail at a moderate pace can burn more than 500 calories while boosting your metabolism and lifting your spirits!

It’s well known that moderate exercise and sunshine can help fight depression, so cross country skiing is a great way to ward off the winter blues.  There’s no reason to suffer from “Cabin Fever” this year when a scenic winter wonderland of natural beauty awaits you.


Not sure where to start?  Most ski shops provide expert advice on selecting gear which will suit your tastes and budget, and many offer rental equipment and classes for beginners.  Check out our Top Ten Tips for Cross Country Skiing in the Hudson Valley, and you’re sure to start out on the right foot.

Top Ten Tips for Cross Country Skiing in the Hudson Valley

  1. Learn the rules.  Visit a Cross Country ski center and inform the staff that you are new to the activity.   They’ll be happy to help you learn the ins and outs, discuss trail etiquette and even point you to trails best suited to your skiing ability.
  2. Dress in layers.  Because cross country skiing is an aerobic activity; many beginners tend to overdress for the cold.  However, you can overheat quickly if dressed too warmly. Wear moisture-wicking underwear (no cotton!) with a lightweight fleece top with tights and a weatherproof outer shell.
  3. Take a pack.  You need a larger pack for winter cross-country skiing trips than you would for hiking in summer. Bring extra clothing and gear (e.g., a snow shovel) to stay comfortable and safe.
  4. Don’t forget the wax.  Keep some “glide wax” packets handy so you can keep your "no wax" skis gliding smoothly all day.  Apply only to the smooth surface of the ski base. For waxable skis, find a few grip waxes that cover the full range of temperatures you're likely to encounter.
  5. Stretch before and after your trip.  This helps prevent muscle soreness and keeps you flexible. Gently stretch the quadriceps, hamstrings, gluteus muscles and calves.  Cross-country skiing is also a great upper-body workout, so don't forget to stretch your biceps and triceps, too!
  6. Start slowly.  Walk the trail with a pair of poles but without skis. This is the easiest way to get acclimated to the opposite-arm, opposite-leg movement required in cross-country skiing
  7. Protect yourself from the sun.  Even on overcast days, reflected light off the snow and prolonged exposure can cause sunburns and even "snow blindness". Wear suitable sunscreen and sunglasses with good UV protection.
  8. Drink plenty of water.  Drink regularly, even if you don't feel thirsty. Staying hydrated helps you to stay warm, and dehydration is the first step towards hypothermia.
  9. Practice Negotiating Hills.  Climbing uphill, make sure your body is centered above your feet and that your shoulders, hips and feet are aligned. Think about taking little steps up the hill, and try not to bend too far forward at the waist. Descending downhill, keep your body aligned above your feet. Once you’re skilled enough on skis, you can tuck into the position that Alpine racers use.
  10. Stay in Control.  To slow your descent when skiing in groomed tracks, carefully lift one ski out and set it at an angle to the track. Put pressure on the inside edge of that ski, in a "half snowplow" formation. Don’t press too hard, though, or you may catch your ski and stop too suddenly.
Eager to give it a try?  The Hudson Valley Resort & Spa is just minutes from some of the Hudson Valley’s best cross-country skiing!  Give us a call when planning your visit to the well groomed and popular trails at nearby Minnewaska State Park, the Mohonk Preserve, or the Catskills and we’ll help make the most of your stay.  We’re only 90 miles from NYC… you’ll just feel a world away.

1 comment:

  1. I've been cross country skiing at Minnewaska and at your resort during a winter conference. While skiing on the golf course is fun, I have to say that Minnewaska is just amazing. Thanks for sharing these tips, I agree with them!

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