Miles of snow-covered terrain waits to be explored in and around the Yampa Valley. At Condos in Steamboat, we often get asked for tips on cross-country skiing, so we decided to call in a local expert.
Steamboat Springs native, teacher Jess Aldighieri, was raised on skis. She lives with her husband, Bobby, a former Olympian and freestyle program director for Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club and their toddler son.
Skate or classic, what should someone who has never tried any kind of Nordic skiing consider?
JA: Depends on interest and physical ability. Classic skiing is a good foundation for Nordic skiing and will help your skate skiing. Classic skiing is easier to learn, but difficult to become more efficient. Skate skiing is the opposite.
What should you wear Nordic skiing?
JA: A lightweight long sleeve Smartwool top, tights or light long underwear bottoms, covered by lightweight Nordic ski pants and jacket. Well fitting gloves and boots will make the learning experience more enjoyable. A lightweight hat or neck buff will help trap body heat.
Any tips to improve performance and speed for skate skiing?
JA: Skiing in general is about balance, position and timing. If you can improve these basic skills, your efficiency will increase. As a result, you will gain ground on your performance and speed. Skate skiing is all about the application of power to the snow. Strengthening your technical ability will help accelerate your ability to apply power.
Best techniques to keep you upright on a downhill turn?
JA: Keep your feet underneath your hips and constantly move your feet. The old classic – bend your knees!
If you want to try Nordic skiing as a family for a day what do you advise?
JA: Make an adventure out of it and carry a picnic or small snack in a backpack, because it’s quite physically demanding and you’ll need to refuel when you’re out there. A day of classic skiing can be great fun for everyone in the family.
Most memorable day you’ve ever had Nordic skiing in Steamboat?
JA: Wow, there have been so many, but skate skiing the Hogan Park trail on spring crust after Mount Werner was closed. The snow was fast and the sunrise was beautiful. After an adventurous decent on our skinny skis, we finished with a run in the mud on B.C. Ski Way with our backpacks and skate gear.