Remember, x-country is work along with fun. And work means working up a sweat. To stay comfortable when pushing and puffing across snowy countryside, dress casually and in layers.

Knickers, which snap just below the knee, are an excellent way to keep from overheating. Otherwise, wear a pair of warm, but not heavy, pants. Ankle gaiters will keep the snow out of your shoes and prevent it from piling up under your pant legs. If you donít have gaiters, wrap your pant cuffs around your ankles and stuff the cuffs inside your socks. Long johns are only needed on brutally cold days.

A satisfactory cross-country outfit would include a T-shirt-style undershirt and a warm polypro or wool shirt, with a collar, which can be unbuttoned when you start to sweat. A light jacket with a removable lining, or a down-filled vest, is usually more than sufficient for the crosscountry devotee. Adding a cap that can be pulled down over the ears and forehead if the weather turns nasty, and light, water-resistant gloves will just about complete your x-country outfit.

One piece of equipment popular with cross-country travelers is a small waterproof backpack in which to stuff extra socks, a piece of clothing, a thermos of hot soup or coffee, and - if itís going to be a long day - extra water. Dehydration can be a major problem, especially when youíre cross-country cruising at high altitudes. And donít forget two other items essential for all skiers: sunglasses and sunscreen lotion.

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