The Ins and Outs of Late Season Winter Sports

Spring Snow Makes For Better Snowshoeing and Cross-Country Skiing

Nordic skiing and snowshoeing are two of the region’s favorite sports when there’s chilly temperatures and fresh snow on the ground.

According to Joe Martin of the NDSU Nordic Ski team, the closer the temperature is to freezing, the smoother and faster the ski trails are. When temperatures are lower, the skiiers go slower because of the harder snow out on the trail.

Martin also says that Mother Nature has to cooperate by providing adequate snowfall.

“You need about 4 to 6 inches in order to be able tog room the snow into the track to make a nice skiing trail. Then after that, you want it to be firm and groomed nicely so you can so a little bit faster,” explains Martin.

Groomed trails are firm and compact with several inches of snowfall to ensure a smooth ride for cross-country skiiers as well as for snowshoers. However, snowshoeing is a little bit different for those who aren’t used to it.

“With snowshoeing, you’re literally walking or running, so you’re not going to be gliding like you are skiing. You can probably go in a little bit of deeper snow because you have a base and you’re not going to sink,” says Dave Klundt, Assistant Director of Programming and Facilities for the Fargo Park District.

That base of 4 to 6 inches of snowpack is just as important for snowshoeing as it is for cross-country skiing because it allows the athlete to keep making strides in the winter wonderland while still exerting a force.

When you step down into the snowpack, you increase pressure while increasing the temperature of the snowpack you’re stepping in.

This, in turn, melts some of the snow and creates a smoother trail for the athletes.

That trail needs to be maintained and even replenished with fresh snow especially as we head into the start of the next season.

“Toward Spring, into the March area, we get a lot more wet snow and it gets a little softer,” says Martin.

So while many of us have grown tired of the snow by March, for winter athletes, it’s the best of the winter season.

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