Cross-country skiing uses every major muscle group in the body, thus making it one of the most grueling endurance sports. This sport falls into the category along with running, rowing, and swimming, as one of the sports that burn the most calories per hour in execution.
Cross-Country skiing competition, modern day, is now experiencing a greater connectivity with the audiences. I all started with the Sprint Event which was added to the World Cup and Olympic competition in 2002. Many more today are being held in audience-friendly format, for instance mass start, sprint, relay, and pursuit. Pursuit involves switching skis, and styles halfway through the race. In the World Cup and Olympics the modern events athletes compete in are: 1km Sprint, 2X1 km Team Sprint, 10km/15km Individual Start, 15km/30 km Pursuit, 30km/50km Mass Start, and 4x5km/4×10 km Relay; which are conducted in Female/Male format.
There are several types of cross-country competitive events, involving races of various types and lengths, as well as biathlon, which involves a combination of cross-country skiing and target shooting with a rifle.
The worlds fastest cross country skiing athletes compete in events like The Winter Olympics, the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships, and the FIS World Cup, which have long been a showcase for the extremely fast skiers. Vasaloppet in Sweden, Birkebeineren in Norway the Canadian Birkebeiner, the American Birkebeiner, the Tour of Anchorage in Anchorage, Alaska and The Tug Hill Tourathon in The US, are all special distance ski races, also know as ski marathons. In these races the skiing styles might be fixed, or, in case of the “double pursuit” event, the two styles are used each in their own separate half of the race (with a pit stop to change equipment half way through).
At 160km, The Canadian Ski Marathon, is the longest tour. The skiers choose their distance challenge and try to accomplish it. The highest honor, the Coureur de Bois Gold, is given to those who ski the entire distance and camp out overnight, bringing all their food and gear with them in a big backpack.
Since 2005, one of the world’s longest cross country skiing races has been held in Forestville, Quebec, Canada. The Boreal Loppet has a race loop of 100 km.
Classic, skating and telemarketing are the three main styles that are used in cross country skiing. There is also skiathlon, which is a combination of classic and skating. For each style there is special equipment to accommodate. Skiioring is another style that is growing in popularity. In skijoring, the skier is pulled over the snow by one or more dogs, or, alternatively, a snowmobile. Both classic and skating techniques are used by skijorers.