#189 Equipment vs Instruction

I met a frustrated and winded man on the xc ski trails the other night. I stopped. He explained he was an accomplished runner – often out for 4 hour trail runs in Gatineau Park. While he was exceptionally fit he explained skate skiing had him whooped within half a kilometre!

xc ski race - XCOttawa.com higly skilled XCOttawa.ca racer

High expectations

I asked more. He had just bought full skate and classic ski packages to transfer his love of aerobic running to xc skiing. He had never skiied and imagined he would just soar on skis as he did on the running trails.

Equipment vs Learning

The same thing happens with many hobby photographers – people spend thousands of dollars on equipment but neglect to spend anything on actually learning to use the equipment. For most people (skiers and photographers), acquiring skills will have a greater effect on fun and success than acquiring higher performance equipment.

I gave the frustrated skier a quick introduction to the idea of weight transfer – critical for efficient skate and classic skiing – and suggested he invest in ski instruction: xcottawa.ca or xczone.com.


It is very rewarding seeing light bulbs pop above the heads of my photo students – for most people starting or wanting to progress, instruction is more valuable than equipment.

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