How to Ski the Beach

Feb 15, 2012
Outside Magazine

A smooth, rockless beach is key for shore skiing    Photo: Kyanna Sutton/Flickr

I live on an island off North Carolina, and I'm the freak of my neighborhood. I'm the guy who skis the beach. It started one day when I was jogging along the shore, knees and back aching. Since moving from New England, I'd missed snow and mountains, and as I stared at the flat sandbar I found myself longing for cross-country skiing, with its velvety rhythm. I looked at the sand again and thought, Why not? Step one is getting over any embarrassment. (Hey, Bill Koch, winner of Olympic cross-country silver in 1976, skied beaches in Hawaii.)

(1) Classic wax skis work best, but don't overspend; sand and shells are HARSH.
(2) Choose your beach WISELY. You want long, rockless stretches.
(3) Ski at the water's EDGE or on the finely crushed shells that can accumulate below the wrack line.
(4) The glide on a beach isn't quite as GLIDEY as snow, so spray silicon on your skis.

P.S. - See Gessner in action.

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