Girls, Boys Should Ski Same Distances in Races

Alaska high school cross country skiers should not be skiing different distances during races for there is not a difference in endurance between genders.

Year after year the questions arise all over the world about why men and women compete different distances and with different rules in competitions.

The sports community rumbles that change is coming but no change has come to the state of Alaska when it come to cross country skiing.

For years boys have told girls they are lucky they don’t have to ski as far as they do, but as they are told this, girls harbor their feelings that they are inferior and not as capable.

Research continually proves that while girls are on average much slower than guys in skiing, girls are still just as capable of skiing the same distance.

The question of distance applies to endurance and not speed, yet the main argument, when it comes to changing the distance, is that boys are faster.

Head running and skiing coach at Dimond, Nathaniel Normandin, said that he thought girls were actually “tougher mentally.”

He said that girls are relatively newer to high-end sports so the rules haven’t changed since they were originally established not that long ago.

Dimond High counselor and cross country skiing alumni Robert Hartley testified to the fact that even when he skied in high school, the boys skied longer distances.


In my opinion, the difference in racing distance makes it so people can’t compare the times from girls to guys and so the guys don’t have to worry about girls being faster.

While men have the capability of developing muscle mass easier, women can get just as fit as men with the same amount of effort. So despite girls’ slower times, we can manage the distance just as well and should therefore be allowed to compete as much as guys.

On the other side of the argument, people think that if girls had to race the same distance as the guys, fewer girls would join the ski team.

Madeline Troxell agreed with this when she said, “I like skiing but I don’t know if I like it enough to race a bunch of 10k races.”

Midwestern states were also worried about this phenomenon when they changed the girls cross country running race distance from four kilometers to match the guy’s five kilometers. The number of girls didn’t drop substantially enough to constitute saying the drop was due to the longer distance.

I think if you love skiing and want to be a part of the team you can handle a couple of extra kilometers.

In the three-day span of the 2018 Alaska State Nordic Skiing Meet, three different races were held and every race had men skiing longer distances.

The skate race for girls was a 5k while the boys was a 7.5k. The classic race for girls was 7.5k while the boys was a 10k. The mixed technique relay for girls was a 4 by 3k while the boys was a 4 by 5k.

These discrepancies are unfair and inequitable. It cements in boys’ minds that they are superior. That they can do more. It gives the impression to both genders that the girls are weaker.


Normandin said, “Nobody has ever mentioned changing the distance at a meeting because we all assume no girls want to do the longer distance. It’s just the nature of the beast: longer equals harder.”

Although when asked if he thought girls are capable to do the longer distance he said, “Most definitely, there’s no question.”

So why hasn’t it been changed? There are examples everywhere in current society of discrepancies in rules for different genders.

From allowing boys to check in hockey and not girls, to the men doing the decathlon and the women doing the heptathlon in track, society sees men as tougher and more capable of physical activities, as reflected by the current sports guidelines.

But since we do not live in the medieval times when girls were only meant for giving birth and cleaning, girls are becoming empowered and more interested in the athletic capabilities we have.

Society’s prejudices should not be mirrored in sports and as the world changes, the distances in skiing should become equitable and help propel our community to a better stance on gender typing.