Wednesday, 6 February 2013 3:18 PM
When you arrive at a ski resort, your first thought is probably to head to the kit store and stock up on the blades and boards you will be using for your week of snow sports.
But this season, why not try something new in the form of cross country skiing?
You may have seen cross country enthusiasts struggling across the piste on one of your previous ski trips but perhaps paid little attention to them because it was more fun to schuss down the nearest blue or red run.
But according to Noreen Robinson, an avid cross country skier, the benefits of the activity far outweigh the aching muscles you will experience afterwards.
For one, it acts as a great aerobic workout, she told Readingeagle.com, as you use your arms, legs and core to move across flat areas of snow. It also provides a great way to make the most of the beautiful mountain scenery, something you might not be aware of when you are concentrating on your snowplough.
As well as that, cross country skiing can work out cheaper than normal slope skiing because you will not have to pay for a lift pass. In addition, there is no such thing as having to wait for the lift queue to move before you can start making the most of the snow, as your route will take you away from the hustle and bustle of the greens, blues, reds and blacks.
So what will you need for your cross country expedition? A pair of boots and skis with bindings are, of course, essential, but you should also invest in some poles to help you gain traction, even if you do not usually use them on the slopes.
Warm women's snowboarding jackets are another vital purchase as these will keep you toasty when you are moving slowly across the piste. As for the rest of your attire, Ms Robinson swears by thin layers, including thermal underwear.
"You don't want to dress as heavy as when you do downhill skiing. Cross country skiing is a very aerobic sport so you tend to sweat more," she pointed out.
"Never wear cotton when you are doing a winter aerobic sport. It will absorb your moisture but just lay there. It won't push your perspiration to the next level."
A pair of insulated short socks are a wise choice when dressing for your cross country session, along with a thin fleece layer over the top of your base layer. "Over that I wear a soft-shell jacket with zip pits. They are ideal so you can open them up to get ventilation to cool down when needed," said the winter sports fan. "I wear soft shell pants and at times will use gators to add more protection and warmth."
You will also need a hat and gloves with you, along with a stash of energy bars to give you a boost when you are out and about. A tube of sunscreen is also recommended because you are more exposed to the sun's rays when you are moving less frequently.