Norwegian train plowing through drifted snow
Vintage ski waxes, once used by U.S. Army ski troops. Left to right are: grip waxes in canisters (blue for "dry snow" and yellow for "wet and corn snow") and a paraffin glide wax.
Extratropical cyclonic snowstorm, February 24, 2007—(Click for animation.)
Swedish ski racer, Martin Matsbo, pioneered development of modern cross-country ski waxes.
Frontal snowsquall moving toward Boston, Massachusetts
Conceptual representation of sliding friction over snow, as a function of water film thickness, created by passage of a ski or other slider over a snow surface.
Cold northwesterly wind over Lake Superior and Lake Michigan creating lake-effect snowfall
Canister of vintage German grip wax.
Freshly fallen snowflakes
Soviet-era Visti (Висти)–brand klisters, graded by color and temperature range.
An early classification of snowflakes by Israel Perkins Warren
Dendritic snowflake—micrograph by Wilson Bentley.
An animation of seasonal snow changes, based on satellite imagery
Platelets and needles, two alternate forms of snowflakes.
New York City during a 2016 blizzard, which
 produced local wind gusts up to 42 mph and dropped 27.5 in of snow, breaking the city's one-day snowfall record.
Fresh, dry snow with newly formed bonds, showing a grain boundary (top center).
Snow-covered trees in Kuusamo, Finland
Cluster of ice grains in wet snow at a low liquid content—grain crystals range 0.5 to 1.0 mm.
Fresh snow beginning to metamorphose: The surface shows wind packing and sastrugi. In the foreground are hoar frost crystals, formed by refrozen water vapor emerging to the cold surface.
Melting glide wax onto a skate ski to be ironed in and scraped smooth.
Firn—metamorphosed multi-year snow
Application of grip wax to a classic cross-country ski, using a canister of wax, like those shown in the left foreground.
Snow drifts forming around downwind obstructions
Smoothing of grip wax on a classic cross-country ski, using a hand-held "cork", like the item marked "Swix" in the right foreground.
A powder snow avalanche
Snowmelt-induced flooding of the Red River of the North in 1997
Snow pit on the surface of a glacier, profiling snow properties where the snow becomes increasingly dense with depth as it metamorphoses towards ice
Snowfall and snowmelt are parts of the Earth's water cycle.
Traffic stranded in a 2011 Chicago snowstorm.
Winter conditions on Ontario Highway 401 in Toronto due to a snowsquall.
Deicing an aircraft during a snow event
Satellite view of the Indus River, showing snow in the Himalayas, which feeds it, and agricultural areas in Pakistan that draw on it for irrigation.
Extreme snow accumulation on building roofs
Icings resulting from meltwater at the bottom of the snow pack on the roof, flowing and refreezing at the eave as icicles and from leaking into the wall via an ice dam.
Alpine skiing.
Algae, Chlamydomonas nivalis, that thrive in snow form red areas in the suncups on this snow surface
Arctic fox, a predator of smaller animals that live beneath the snow
Trucks plowing snow on a highway in Missouri
Airport snow-clearing operations include plowing and brushing
Swiss low-profile, train-mounted snowplow
Bivouac of Napoleon's Grande Armée, during the winter retreat from Moscow
Finnish ski troops during the invasion of Finland by the Soviet Union
Army vehicles coping with snow during the Battle of the Bulge of World War II.
Norwegian military preparations during the 2009 Cold Response exercise
Navy SEALs training for winter warfare at Mammoth Mountain, California.

Ski wax is a material applied to the bottom of snow runners, including skis, snowboards, and toboggans, to improve their coefficient of friction performance under varying snow conditions.

- Ski wax

Ski wax enhances the ability of a ski (or other runner) to slide over snow by reducing its coefficient of friction, which depends on both the properties of the snow and the ski to result in an optimum amount of lubrication from melting the snow by friction with the ski—too little and the ski interacts with solid snow crystals, too much and capillary attraction of meltwater retards the ski.

- Snow
Norwegian train plowing through drifted snow

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Cross-country skiers in western Norway.

Cross-country skiing

Form of skiing where skiers rely on their own locomotion to move across snow-covered terrain, rather than using ski lifts or other forms of assistance.

Form of skiing where skiers rely on their own locomotion to move across snow-covered terrain, rather than using ski lifts or other forms of assistance.

Cross-country skiers in western Norway.
Sami hunter using skis of unequal length—short for traction, long for gliding—and a single pole. Both were employed until c. 1900. (1673 woodcut)
German Reichswehr military patrol on skis training in the Giant Mountains, January 1932.
Michal Malák skate-skis at a qualifier for the Tour de Ski, 2007.
Arctic travelers, Fridtjov Nansen and Hjalmar Johansen at the camp of Frederick Jackson on Northbrook Island in 1896.
Ski touring in untracked terrain.
Groomed ski trails for cross-country in Thuringia, track-set for classic skiing at the sides and groomed for skate skiing in the center.
Swede Anna Haag with classic technique in the women's 10 km classic race at the 2011 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in Oslo, Norway.
Skiers employing step turns, while descending during a 2006 FIS World Cup Cross Country competition in Otepää, Estonia.
Pre-1940 ski gear in Oslo: bamboo poles, wooden skis, and cable bindings.
Cross-country ski equipment for skate-skiing (left) and classic-style skiing (right). Ski and pole lengths are different for each. Classic skis have a "grip zone" in the area under the binding.
Cross-country ski boot and standardized binding system for classic skiing. The skier clicks the toe of the boot into the binding and releases with the button in front of the boot.
An early depiction of a skier—a Sami woman or goddess hunting on skis by Olaus Magnus (1553).
Loyal retainers transporting Prince Haakon IV of Norway to safety on skis during the winter of 1206—1869 depiction by Knud Bergslien.
Olav V of Norway as crown-prince in 1939
A skate-skier in Gatineau Park, Quebec, a North American groomed-trail ski venue.
A recreational cross-country trail, groomed for classic skiing only, in Tyrol.
A blind cross-country skier with guide at a regional Ski for Light event.
Dog skijoring—dogs provide added propulsion to the cross-country skier.

Standard orienteering maps are used, but with special green overprinting of trails and tracks to indicate their navigability in snow; other symbols indicate whether any roads are snow-covered or clear.

The classic technique relies on a wax or texture on the ski bottom under the foot for traction on the snow to allow the skier to slide the other ski forward in virgin or tracked snow.