Downhill Skiing Burns More Calories Than Cross Country Skiing Burn

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Cross country skiing generally burns more calories than downhill skiing. Instead of chair lifts to take you up the mountain and gravity to take you down, cross country skiers rely on self-propulsion. The number of calories burned during cross country skiing depends on a few factors: 

  • Your body weight
  • Skiing speed and terrain
  • Type of skiing

Cross Country Skiing Calories Burned

If you weigh 150 pounds, you can burn about: 

  • 400 - 500 calories per hour while skiing at 2.5 mph.
  • 550 - 600 calories per hour while skiing at 4 - 5 mph.
  • 600 - 650 calories per hour while skiing at 5 - 8 mph.

If you weigh 200 pounds, you can burn about: 

  • 650 - 675 calories per hour while skiing at 2.5 mph.
  • 750 - 800 calories per hour while skiing at 4 - 5 mph.
  • 850 - 875 calories per hour while skiing at 5 - 8 mph.

Skating and Mountaineering Burn More 

The above calorie counts apply to standard, or "classic," cross country skiing on relatively flat terrain. By comparison, skate skiing and mountaineering burn even more calories. An average-size (150-lb.) person burns upwards of 700 calories per hour skate skiing on flat terrain. This is because skating is generally more vigorous than classic skiing. Mountaineering involves breaking trails through fresh snow and usually a lot of climbing. It can burn 1,100 calories or more per hour. No matter what type of skiing you're doing, climbing always burns more calories than flat or downhill runs.