What Is Nordic Backcountry Skiing?

What Is Nordic Backcountry Skiing?
Cross-country skiing has many different styles, including skate, traditional and nordic backcountry. Nordic backcountry skiing is one of the best ways of touring the backcountry and getting out of the ski area set-tracks.

A Cross of Styles

As a hybrid between traditional cross-country skiing and telemarking, nordic backcountry skiing focuses on exploring the backcountry and untracked areas. A free heeled binding is used on slightly wider, metal edged skis, much like traditional cross country set-ups.

Nordic Touring and Winter Camping

Nordic backcountry skiing is often used by winter campers as a means of going from hut to hut or campsite to campsite. The wider skis provide more float through deep snow, letting the skier carry backpacks or use pulks, a sled that carries gear.

Specialized Gear

Nordic backcountry equipment is specialized. New Nordic Norm bindings are commonly used on the skis. Poles have larger baskets to accommodate the deeper snow. Leather over the ankle boots, with metal bars for the bindings, provide heat retention and support.

Snow Conditions

With the backcountry element of nordic skiing, nordic skiers need to have a knowledge of different snow conditions. Crusty, powdery, sticky and packed snows affect the nordic ski differently.

Multi Day Tours

Unlike its traditional cross-country ski cousin, nordic skiing often takes users on multi-day ski tours.

Article Written By Eric Cedric

A former Alaskan of 20 years, Eric Cedric now resides in California. He's published in "Outside" and "Backpacker" and has written a book on life in small-town Alaska, "North by Southeast." Cedric was a professional mountain guide and backcountry expedition leader for 18 years. He worked in Russia, Iceland, Greece, Turkey and Belize. Cedric attended Syracuse University and is a private pilot.

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