Due to the continued outbreak and spread of the Novel Coronavirus and newly announced travel restrictions FIS Cross Country World Cup competitions on 14th-15th March 2020 in Quebec (CAN) were cancelled.
The competitions were the last of the 2019-20 season for both the Men’s and Women’s Cross Country World Cup tours and will not be replaced at a later date. Another victim of the global efforts to combat COVID-19 where we are all being asked to isolate from one another.
However there is a brighter perspective some may want to consider here. Cross country skiing will reduce worry and give you some social distance during the COVID-19 situation – photo from Devil’s Thumb Ranch Resort
There have been plenty of COVID-19 perspectives and statements from businesses and in the ski industry this includes ski area operators, marketers and media, product suppliers, and retailers. Few of the statements have recommended that people might consider XC skiing, which is a great alternative now that all of the alpine ski areas are closed due to the COVID-19 virus.
Let’s check the boxes related to XC skiing in relation to the COVID-19 situation:
Social Distancing – CHECK
There should be no worries about skiing too close to anyone when you are on the XC ski trails, whether those trails are groomed or ungroomed. It is easy to keep six feet distance from others while skiing. You can ski and socialize with others on the XC ski trails while being far enough apart to prevent transmission of the virus.
The commercial XC ski areas closed down lodging, food & beverage service, rental and lesson services, etc. But some are still grooming the ski trails for skiers to use. According to Jackson Ski Touring, they spend $600-1,000 per night to groom about 15 km of trails, so they are asking skiers to make an on-line donation. Some XC ski areas are offering free access to their trails and at some point very soon, all trail grooming will cease, but XC skiers can go on ungroomed trails depending on the snow conditions and the equipment that they use. Skiers should be aware of the snow conditions as the trails could be dangerously icy.
Physical Fitness – CHECK
The sport of XC skiing requires the use of both lower and upper body and these muscle groups work together for a true total body workout, which turns up the metabolism. XC skiing is one of the best aerobic exercises and with all of the body’s muscles working together, no single muscle is overstressed. This allows participants to keep up the pace without stopping and it helps maintain an elevated heart rate to build cardiovascular strength, which will improve blood flow and oxygen levels.
As a low-impact exercise, XC skiing keeps you properly balanced and you’re not over-stressing any part of the body. It is a great exercise for those who have difficulty doing other types of workouts that are harder on the joints and muscles.
XC skiers move across different types of uphill and downhill terrain and many different muscles are used in the process. This makes XC skiing one of the best exercises burning up to 1,112 calories per hour!
Psychological & Spiritual Fitness – CHECK
There is evidence for the effectiveness of exercise in patients with panic disorder who can benefit by a number of psychological factors such as increased self efficacy, a sense of mastery, distraction, and changes of self-concept. XC skiing can instill a sense of pride and confidence and allow the mind a pathway to escape from everyday stress. Exercise is said to cause the brain to release beta endorphins, which are essential in relieving pain and creating a sort of euphoric or light happy feeling. For more info, click the article A Remedy for Anxiety and Depression.
Among the benefits of XC skiing, the clean air and scenic views associated with XC skiing outdoors on the snow in the winter will help reduce stress and help you relax. There is something truly special about being in the mountains surrounded by trees and animals.
According to the book The Nature Fix, there is an increasing amount of biological, psychological, and medicinal scientific evidence regarding spending more time outdoors in nature. Over the years, efforts have been made to quantify nature’s impact on mood, well being, ability to think (remember, plan, create) and sociability. The hypothesis involves lowering human stress, boosting mental health, restoring attention, empathy, and cognitive clarity. Nature also affects a social component like the feeling that is shared among people who spend time together outdoors or people who perform exceeding acts of kindness in the aftermath of a severe environmental event such as a tornado, earthquake, firestorm, and such.
XC skiing may not be a cure-all for COVID-19, but it definitely is something that the doctor might order if he or she were aware of the FREE physical, mental and spiritual health benefits provided by this outdoor recreation on the snow. XC skiing outdoors can be a great panacea for tough times and Erin Zell of Galena Lodge in Idaho commented “I think a lot of people are feeling like being in the outdoors is a safe route to go.”
We should get outdoors and be hopeful that similar to other devastating events in the past, the world will move on and get back to normal as soon as possible.