Cross Country Skiing Health & Fitness

Did You Know…
  • Participation in cross country skiing increased 21.6% from 2003-2004

  • 42% of Nordic skiers are women

  • 30.5% of cross country skiers are ages 25-44

  • 16% of cross country skiers is a child aged 7-17

  • 2.4 million cross country skiers take to the snow each year

Fitness Benefits and/or Muscles Used

  • Cross country skiing burns more calories per hour than any other sport

  • It offers a low-risk, low-impact aerobic form of exercise.

  • Is an ideal cross-training sport for running or biking.

  • Is advocated by medical professionals as the best cardiovascular fitness activity.

  • Is an excellent low-stress outdoor exercise

  • Uses natural movements, resulting in a very short learning curve

Calories Burned           
Calories burned/hr
Calories burned/hr
Skiing slow or light effort
413 calories/hour
130 lbs
70 lbs
493 calories/hour
155 lbs
264 calories/hour
90 lbs
604 calories/hour
190 lbs
330 calories/hour
110 lbs
Skiing, moderate effort
472 calories/hour
130 lbs
242 calories/hour
70 lbs
563 calories/hour
155 lbs
302 calories/hour
90 lbs
690 calories/hour
190 lbs
377 calories/hour
110 lbs
Skiing, 8 mph, racing
826 calories/hour
130 lbs
423 calories/hour
70 lbs
985 calories/hour
155 lbs
529 calories/hour
90 lbs
1208 calories/hour
190 lbs
661 calories/hour
110 lbs

**calculations are estimates based on consultation with American College of Sports Medicine

Social/Adventure Benefits

  • Opportunity to spend time with friends and make social contact with other skiers on trails and at ski area lodges.

  • The entire family can participate together. It is a family-friendly, multi-generational activity, ideal for young children and grandparents.

  • It is a practical way to enjoy the outdoors during the winter.

Even More Good News*

  • Cross-country skiing is one of the most affordable snow sport activities. A day trip costs, on average, $12 for a trail pass (for those who already have equipment) or $35 for trail pass, rental equipment and a lesson.

  • There are approximately 350 cross country ski areas in the United States and an equal number in Canada.

  • Cross-country skiing is a lifetime sport that is easy to learn.

  • The latest advances in boot and binding systems, and shorter skis give today’s cross-country skiers more control, comfort and support.

  • Learning with an instructor on a groomed trail is the easiest way to begin enjoying the sport. Once you know how to cross-country ski, you don’t have to go beyond your backyard to enjoy this wonderful winter sport.

Cross Country Ski Areas Association
National Sporting Goods Association 2004 Sports Participation Study