This version of the sport is still skiing and it's still fun, but it's not as fast-paced and adrenaline pumping as it mountainous cousin - most of the time. It's not as extreme and it's considered by many to be quite a relaxing undertaking, although there are ways to push the envelope. One major advantage to cross-country action is that it is generally more suitable for entire families to undertake together, which is always a great thing for passing boring, snowy days.
Getting started in cross-country skiing requires pretty much the same type of equipment as downhill. Skis, of course, are needed along with poles and specialized boots.
The skis themselves should be longer and more lightweight than Alpine skis. They are designed to help a person avoid sinking into snow, which hasn't been packed for downhill runs. The boots must follow the same general principles of downhill skiing in that they should be comfortable and flexible.
Cross-country skiing might not be considered as extreme a sport as Alpine skiing, but make no mistake it is a good workout. This is a great way for families to get out, enjoy some scenery and get a little exercise all at the same time. It's also a pretty good solo sport and doesn't require a trip to the slopes to take part.
As it is with Alpine skiing, however, it's a good idea for those just starting out to make sure they buy proper equipment. Checking with good supply stores for proper fits is smart. Also, lessons on basic techniques are indeed smart, too.
Safety should be a concern with cross-country skiing, as well. Proper gear and the know-how to use it will go a long way. But when going on runs, skiers should remember to make sure to bring first aid equipment along just in case. Also, make sure someone else knows the trek you'll be taking and time you expect to be back. A few precautions might seem like an imposition, but they will be welcomed if a problem does arise.
Easier to get involved in than downhill skiing, cross-country is a favorite for outdoors types and families alike.