Jack Bell, NY Times December 3, 2014 in Personal Tech | Gadgetwise.
For years, many people thought of the cross-country skier as either a solitary tree hugger out in the woods, icicles hanging from a frozen beard, or perhaps as a perfect human specimen struggling across the finish line of a long race in Finland and promptly vomiting onto the snow.
While those images may endure, the sport has experienced a renaissance of sorts among millions of health-conscious Americans eager to burn 300 to 700 calories an hour when the winter chill and snow on the ground keep them from their regular outdoor exercise, like jogging or biking.
According to Snowsports Industries America, a trade group, more than three million Americans took to the trails in 2013-14. Like Alpine skiing, cross-country skiing appeals to an affluent and educated clientele: 49 percent of cross-country skiers have household incomes of more than $75,000 and 59 percent have a bachelor’s degree or higher.
Even as the sport has become popular and more mainstream, the prosaic ski has been slower to evolve. The choices are still between waxable and waxless skis. But the digital age is coming, particularly with the Madshus eMpower XC series of smart skis.