A few years ago a new winter sport arrived in Quebec, hok skiing. This cross-country skiing and snowshoeing hybrid, which is practiced in the middle of nature in loose snow (or not!), is gaining more and more followers with its versatility, accessibility and ease. Decidedly to put at your to-do-list winter sports for the current season.
A text by Catherine Jacques, equipment buyer at Go Sport.
Understanding Hok Skiing
What is it exactly? It is actually a wider and shorter ski than a cross-country ski with an integrated synthetic skin. This ski allows you to move easily by sliding in the snow instead of walking like with snowshoes. Movements are thus faster and less physically demanding. The skin allows you to progress on the climbs - because yes, you and your two legs become real ski lifts! - without getting tired or almost since it gives grip. The descents, on the other hand, bring a lot of pleasure since they can be done by sliding with the telemark technique, one foot in front of the other. Enough to have fun for hours in the beautiful powder snow!
As for the bindings, they are universal and therefore suitable for all types of winter boots thanks to a 2-point ratchet fastening system. They also make your heel completely free, it does not stick to the ski but is mobile like on a snowshoe.
See our collection ofki hok.
Equipment for ski hok
Interestingly, you don't need a lot of specialized equipment. Your pair of ski-shoes of course, but otherwise you probably already have everything at home. The bindings are universal, so you can wear your usual warm, waterproof boots - no need for a super technical pair of hiking boots! -, considered only a model that ideally goes up to mid-ankle or high boots to prevent snow infiltration. The poles are very practical to help you move forward and maintain balance. You can use cross-country, walking (with barrel for snow) or downhill ski poles. To further prevent snow infiltration, gaiters could be used but like on snowshoes, they are not essential. Of course you will need warm clothes adapted to the winter temperature. Finally, all that's missing is the post-hike hot chocolate!
See the boots for women.
Shop boots for men.
Which model to choose?
There is usually one size for children and two sizes for adults in ski hok. Skis of +/- 100 cm are for children. 125-129cm skis are suitable for the vast majority of adults. Their length closer to that of a racket gives more control. They are therefore perfect for beginners or for people practicing this sport in wooded terrain. The largest skis are 145 to 147 cm are more suitable for downhill enthusiasts. They are, however, more difficult to control and less practical in the forest. For heavier people, they will provide better buoyancy on snow. These longer ski hoks also have a steel edge to help control and prevent breakage due to their size. It may therefore be important to consider it in the event that your 4-legged friend accompanies you on your outings since this could injure him. Hok skis for children and those +/- 129 cm do not have this edge so will be safer for your furry ones!
See our accessories hiking.
The interview: what you need to know
Well very little! Synthetic skins are very resistant and generally only require good rehydration. This should be done when the skin begins to absorb water. In addition, when the skis seem to slide less well, you simply have to apply a cold wax (never hot waxes on hok skis). No waxing or sharpening required as with cross-country or alpine skis. The bindings must be cleaned and lubricated on a regular basis in order to maintain their full effectiveness.
Playgrounds for practicing hok skiing
You can practice this sport easily in your part of the country since you do not need groomed trails or prepared trails only a beautiful accessible and safe place. The forest, the fields, the hills thus become your best ski resort: the important thing is to have snow! So keep an eye on the snow conditions and be prepared for the aftermath of the next snowflake storm.
If you want to try it out before buying it, several places in Quebec offer equipment rental and/or maintenance services. Find out before you go.
- Gentilly River Park https://rivieregentilly.com
- Duchesnay tourist resort https://www.sepaq.com/ct/duc/index.dot?language_id=2
- North Arm Valley https://www.valleebrasdunord.com/
- Jacques-Cartier National Park https://www.sepaq.com/pq/jac/index.dot?language_id=2
- South Massif Regional Park https://massifdusud.com
- Estérel Cross-Country Skiing and Snowshoeing Center https://www.skidefondesterel.com/
- Monts-Valin National Park https://www.sepaq.com/pq/mva/index.dot?language_id=2
- Chic-Chocs Mountain Inn https://www.sepaq.com/ct/amc/index.dot?language_id=2
- Hautes-Gorges-de-la-Rivière-Malbaie National Park https://www.sepaq.com/pq/hgo/index.dot?language_id=2
- To the Green Devil https://audiablevert.com/
Aiguebelle National Park https://www.sepaq.com/pq/aig/index.dot?language_id=2
So this winter why not try a new sport? And who knows, maybe you'll fall in love with this great activity!