Cross Country Skiing: Up, Down, and all-around

In Montana, winter is not classified as a lazy season where the weather hinders outdoor activity. Here, winter, as much or more than the summer season, is perfect for getting outside and having a blast. Skiing, snowboarding, sledding and a whole host of other activities offer no excuses for staying inside. The beautiful weather we had this last weekend gave Bozemanites the prime setup for just about any winter sport that would suit your fancy. The blue sky and bright sun this weekend made the days perfect for a cross country ski trip.

Depending on your different interests, there are multiple different types of cross country skiing.  Although my preference is touring and backcountry, I can speak to the other varieties as well. One popular form of cross country skiing is ski skating, which is done on groomed trails. Ski skating is possible on touring skis, but is generally done on specific skis that only function for skating. My understanding is this form of skiing is primarily used as a workout, but there are some good trails around Bozeman that are quite scenic, such as the Bozeman Creek Trail up Sourdough Canyon.

Probably the most common form of cross country skiing, and the one I would suggest for anyone starting to get into it is tou

ring. Touring skis come in two varieties: standard touring skis and metal-edge touring skis or backcountry skis. The standard variety are long and lightweight and are best for groomed trails or in-track skiing, while metal-edge touring skis are shorter, heavier, more stable and have better grip on ice to make them more suitable for out-of-track skiing. My personal preference is to use the heavier backcountry skis, because although they are more difficult to glide with, they also have some float to them which makes them more suitable for that ungroomed side trail you can’t help but explore.

Around Bozeman, there are many places to go cross country skiing and achieve the workout and the excitement of hitting the snow. Right in our backyard is the opportunity for amazing views and a host of trails with different levels of difficulty. For some ideas on where to go, check out some of the various trails in the Bridgers, Hyalite and Yellowstone National Park.