Making Tracks: Introduction to X-C skiing, by Dave Wicks

Review by Ed Quillen

Recreation – February 1996 – Colorado Central Magazine

Making Tracks – An Introduction to Cross-Country Skiing
by Dave Wicks
Published in 1995 by Pruett
ISBN 0-87108-849-5

Even if you can learn cross-country skiing from a book, you’re unlikely to do it from this book. For one thing, it starts with medical examinations, conditioning programs, and stretching exercises, making it more a book for the compulsive exerciser than some guidance for people who’d like to get outdoors in the winter.

For another, it is often poorly organized — it abounds with references along the line of “we’ll get to that later” — and it goes into lurid technical detail about equipment, which changes constantly and is easier learned from friends and shop owners.

The illustrations often seem more suitable for a physics textbook than an introduction to a rather simple sport, and the book delves far too deeply into advanced techniques like telemarking and stem christies for an introductory guide.

And somehow, the fun seems to seep away amid all the discussions of proper clothing, exercise equipment, SNS vs. NNN boots, etc.

To be fair, Wicks’s advice is generally sound; he knows his subject. But if you’re interested in taking up the sport, find a different introductory book (I have always liked the Regnery Guide to Ski Touring, but I doubt it’s still in print, and with all its discussion of wooden skis, it’s seriously dated in this fiberglass world.)

If you’re already skiing and want to learn more about some techniques, Making Tracks could be useful, although it wouldn’t hurt to look at some other books before buying this one. It also lists dozens of Nordic resorts in the U.S., among them one in this region, Moonshadow’s Mountain in Westcliffe.

In short, there’s nothing horrible about Making Tracks, but other books will probably serve you better as an introduction to a pastime I’ve enjoyed off and on for the past 22 years.