Originally from French ("Pays Nordiques"), the term was at first used of "northern" (European) countries in general. Nowadays the term has become established as referring exclusively to Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland and Iceland.

In the Nordic languages there is a term Norden (or "Pohjola", "Pohjoismaat" in Finnish) which is commonly used of the five Nordic countries.

(from soc.culture.Nordic FAQ)
The people from Denmark, Norway, Sweden (the Scandinavian countries), Finland and Iceland.

What they have in common is mainly their desire for partying and drinking, and the fact that they have to live in a place that is f***cking cold 10 months a year. This makes them stick together in some places (eg. there's a Nordic club in Genève).

Most nordic people have blond hair and blue eyes. Especially the hair of Finnish girls (aged 10 or younger) has the most incredible white color - so fairylike that you want to bring a pair of scissors to get some of it (or simply marry a Finn and get some kids).

Why the Icelandic people are considered as being Nordic is most probably because Denmark once owned Iceland (and the Vikings used their island as a base when they discovered America some 500 years before Colombus).

A style of skiing, also referred to as cross country.

When compared to downhill or alpine skiing, many people thing that nordic skiing is a lot of hard work. While this may be true, there are a lot of more interesting differences to worry about.

For example, your average downhill ski weighs in at about 3-5kg (6 to 10ish pounds for you Imperialists), most light track nordic skis weigh between 0.5kg and 1.5kg (1lb to 3lbs). This makes moving around on them much easier.

Nordic skiing traditionally occurs on flat or rolling terrain, skinny skis aren't so great for negotiating steep descents.

Nordic ski bindings (where you attach your boot to the ski) traditionally only attach at the toe. This allows you to lift your heel whilst on the ski which makes it easier to walk/run while having sticks attached to your legs.

There are two major techniques used to nordic ski. Firstly, the classic or diagonal stride which is what most people imagine when they think of cross country skiing. It is kind of like walking or running on skis. The second major technique is the skate. This looks basically like skating on rollerblades, except you've also got poles and you get to do it on snow where it doesn't hurt so much when you fall on your arse. Competition skaters maintain speeds around 30km/h for distances up to 20km. Shorter sprint events can attain speeds of 40-50km/h consistantly.

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