Skiing in open country over rolling, hilly terrain. It originated in Scandinavia as a means of travel as well as recreation. The skies used are longer, narrower, and lighter than those used in Alpine skiing, and bindings allow more heel movement. The standard lengths of international races range from 10 to 50 km (6.2–31 mi) for men and 5 to 30 km (3.1–18.6 mi) for women. It has been included on the Olympics program since the first Winter Olympics in 1924.
Learn more about cross-country skiing with a free trial on Britannica.com.
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