It’s easy to get distracted by the smorgasbord of alpine skiing and snowboarding on offer over our three mountains; but, with over 37 kms of pristine Nordic trails crisscrossing our forests there’s plenty to get excited about when it comes to skinny skis too.
If you’ve never tried Nordic skiing then this winter is the perfect time to give it a try! Temperatures have been moderate, we've seen plenty of sunshine in between snow falls, and the valley snow base is in great shape.
If you’re a Sun Peaks alpine season pass holder, then access to the cross country trails is already included in your pass, and if not, you can get great discounts on Nordic day tickets through our online store. With rentals, lessons, advice from experienced Nordic professionals, and plenty of tips from friendly locals available at our dedicated Nordic Centre, Sun Peaks is a great place to learn the sport.
Interested in giving it a go? Then read on for our quick guide to conquering your first day of cross country!
Why cross country (also know as Nordic) skiing?
It’s no secret that we love winter sports here in Sun Peaks; Nordic skiing is embraced alongside alpine skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, ice skating, ice fishing, and anything else that gets you outdoors in the colder months. The slower, ‘choose your own’ pace of Nordic makes it a fantastic way to experience the serene beauty of the forests surrounding the resort and truly immerse yourself in nature.
Our trail network offers plenty of variety to keep things interesting, from stunning mountain views to beautiful frozen lakes ready to be discovered. The trails are groomed and track set daily, providing the perfect skiing experience for your exploration.
Nordic skiing is also an incredible work out! In fact, Olympic Nordic athletes are widely regarded as some of the fittest athletes on the entire planet. Don’t let that scare you off though, as you can set your own pace and choose a route to push yourself as much or as little as you want.
Finally, it’s easy to learn. We know that starting a new sport can be intimidating, but the lower speeds and flatter terrain of Nordic skiing result in an easier learning curve than alpine skiing or snowboarding. If high speeds and steep slopes are not your thing, then this may be the perfect way for you to get outdoors in the winter.
Classic or Skate?
Did you know that there are two main types of cross country skiing? These are called classic and skate skiing, and here in Sun Peaks our trail system caters to both.
Classic skis are longer and are skied in a diagonal stride, which looks a little bit like walking on skis. You’ll find classic skiers in the parallel ‘track set’ grooves bordering each side of the trails.
Skate skiing involves shorter skis that are used in a ‘V’ shaped motion, much like skating. Skate skiers stick to the wide, groomed part in the middle of the trails. It’s faster than classic and can be more aerobically challenging.
It’s usually recommended that beginners start with classic, as the technique is less tiring to learn. Once you’ve mastered classic then you can give the challenge of skate skiing a shot.
What should I wear?
There’s no need for flashy new outerwear or sport specific gear to get started, however a couple of pointers on clothing will help you enjoy your first ski even more.
Nordic skiing is all about the layers. You’ll be moving a lot, so most people will find bulkier alpine jackets and pants to be too warm after they get going. Instead of thick outerwear pieces, we recommend dressing in several thinner layers of wool or other moisture-wicking athletic wear. That way you can add or remove layers as needed to regulate your temperature.
Finish it off with a wind resistant, breathable jacket or soft-shell layer, a toque, and some gloves, then you’ll be ready to hit the trails!
Where can I get equipment?
While borrowed or second-hand cross country equipment will definitely work to get you out on the trails, you’ll have an even better time with newer, lightweight skis and boots.
That’s where Nordic rentals come in. Rentals are available through our Nordic Centre (located in P5), as well as in the village through ski shops like Elevation Bike, Ski, and Board or Jardines, and are a great way to get a feel for Nordic skiing without committing to buying your own gear.
Once you catch the bug you can decide whether to invest in brand new gear or look to score a pair of second-hand skis at a local ski swap. Before you buy, it's always a good idea to get some advice from a Nordic professional or ski shop to ensure that you're getting the correct equipment for your needs.
Can I get a lesson?
You sure can! Just like on the alpine side, we have a fantastic group of instructors ready to teach you the proper technique and ensure you have a great time. Daily lessons are available, as well as our Intro to Nordic package which includes a trail pass, rentals, and a lesson – perfect for first timers!
Each winter, usually in December and January, we also host two Glenn Bond Nordic Ski Camps. These weekend camps are the perfect way to hone your cross country skills alongside like minded enthusiasts under the watchful eye of a highly experienced coach.
Bonus Tip: Bring a friend!
There’s no better way to experience a new sport than with a friend, who can share all the triumphs and (more importantly) hilarious failures that may accompany your first forays into Nordic skiing. Nordic is a social sport, so a day of skiing followed by après in the village is sure to leave a smile on your face. Plus, all that exercise removes any guilt over a second caesar.
If none of your friends are interested in Nordic, then bring along your furry friend to explore our designated dog friendly trails!
Looking for more information about Nordic skiing at Sun Peaks Resort? Click here to explore the trails, buy tickets, and check out our lesson options.