There are 27 km. of cross-country ski trails at Scenic Caves Nordic Centre which are groomed daily for classic and skate ski styles.Cross-country ski trails: classic and skate

If you’re unfamiliar with nordic skiing (a.k.a. cross-country skiing), here are some answers to common questions.

What’s the difference between Cross-Country and Alpine Ski Equipment

In both classic and skate skiing, the toe of the ski boot is clipped to the binding which allows the heel to rise off the ski.  In Alpine (a.k.a. downhill) skiing, the boot is attached to the ski from toe to heel.

Therefore, cross-country skis do not handle the same way as alpine skis.

What’s the difference between classic and skate skis?Cross-country skis

The width of the skis and technique are the main differences.

Classic skis are wider and cambered (curve flex in the centre) so that when one ski is weighted it grips the snow and allows you to push off onto the forward gliding ski.

Skate skis are shorter, narrower, lighter and faster.  They require the use of a different technique.

Classic track-set skiing

Classic track-set skiing

How does the technique of classic and skate skiing differ?

Classic ski technique is like walking.  Your arms and legs move in equal and opposite directions (a diagonal stride) and the skis slide parallel along tracks in the snow.  Beginners often gain confidence by ‘walking on their skis’ until they master balance and a ‘kick and glide’ style.

Skate Skiing

Skate Skiing

Skate ski technique is more like ice skating. The skis are held in a V-shape. Power is generated through alternate lateral (out to side) leg pushes and use of poles. Skate skiing is a higher intensity sport. It’s popular as a cross training activity, especially for runners, cyclists, skaters and kayakers.

How do classic and skate trails differ?

Classic skiing is best done on groomed, parallel tracks. The parallel tracks are set into the snow by grooming equipment. Classic style skiing can also be done on ungroomed, fresh snow as well as backcountry trails.

Skate skiing requires a wide, flat and smooth track, or lane. The terrain is more limited and skate skiing can only be done on a groomed or packed snow surface.

How many trails are available for classic and. skate?What skate vs. classic trail grooming looks like

All trails begin at “Easy Peesy”.

With the exception of “Easy Peesy”, all the trails are groomed for skate skiing. It’s the only trail that is double track set for a fairly narrow 2 way trail. The other 26km have a track on the right side and the left side is untracked for skate skiing.

+ View Trail Map and Descriptions

Classic and Skate Ski Etiquette

Because the trails are groomed for each style, classic skiers should generally remain in their track-set trails.  Skate skiers are much faster.

The exception: classic skiers should step into the skate lane when using the herringbone technique up hills. When you herringbone over the top of the classic tracks, you damage the tracks and make it difficult for other skiers to use them.

+ Read more about cross-country ski etiquette


Are dogs allowed on the trails?

Sorry, pets are not permitted at Scenic Caves. For the pleasure (and safety of others), no  one wants a dog chasing other skiers or leaving their ‘business’ on the trails.

Professional Grooming Equipment for Classic and Skate Trails

Snow trail groomer (Piston Bulley Machine)

Piston Bulley Groomer

Scenic Caves Nordic has various pieces of mechanical professional equipment which deal with different snow conditions.

Why groom? Groomed and tracked ski trails are easier to ski on, easier to learn on, and skate on than uncleared bush snow.

When the snow is deep, the large Piston Bully machine does the job.

In early season or light snow, the Ginzu Groomer is pulled behind a snowmobile.

Trail Grooming Staff

Ginzu Groomer

Ginzu Groomer

Early each morning, our experienced team heads out around 5am to make the trails as perfect as they can, regardless of the snow conditions. 

It generally takes 3-4 hours to groom our cross-country ski trails. During heavy snowfalls, the staff may be out more than once a day.

How do I find out trail conditions?

The Trail Report is updated each morning by 9am. It details how many km. of classic and skate trails are available, snow depth, general weather forecast for the day and more.

+ View Trail Report

When you arrive, ask the staff what type of wax is recommended for the conditions that day. 

More Questions?

Call the Nordic Centre – (705) 446-0256