The following discussion concerns skiing on groomed trails. If you are going off the trail and skiing ‘back-country’, that’s a different set of skis and a different world. (And a different 30-minute introductory lesson…)
If you are choosing how to enter into Nordic skiing, this is a decision that you must make. Many make the decision without realizing it – they go get some equipment and start skiing. But there is more to it than that.
Most adults that I talk to as they start skiing start off with rental skis, classic skiing, and consider that skate skiing is ‘too hard’ and not for them.
Most beginning high school racers (who have to race in both classical and skate ski races) start with skating and then add classical – they think skating is easier and some find classical technique something that takes much more practice to develop.
As a skier of quite a few years (I’m 71 and have been skiing for over 55 years), I learned to ski before skate skiing was ‘a thing’. I learned to skate over the years as it became an established part of Nordic skiing. I like both, but my problem with skate skiing is I think it requires stamina that I no longer have.
So, what about you? I would suggest the deciding factor is at what aerobic level you anticipate skiing. Do you anticipate skiing as part of your exercise regime? If your idea of a fun outing is to go on a 5K run, charging up the uphills, stretching out on the flats, skate skiing is for you! If you like to hike trails and stop and admire the views as you catch your breath, classical skiing is for you! Of course, there is nothing wrong with doing both!
In Whatcom County, if you go and rent a pair of skis to try out cross-country skiing, they will be generic skis, good for classical skiing. To try skate skiing, you will need to search out some equipment. Or decide that is what you want to do and go buy some! Sign up for your first 30-minute lesson to consider this.
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