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Picks and Pans Review: Performance Skiing—an Expert's Guide to Cross-Country Skiing

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Despite the title, this tape, hosted by Peter Graves, would be excellent for all except rank beginners: (Neophytes should see Graves’s The World of Cross-Country Skiing.) This isn’t the Mission: Impossible-Discover Peter Graves, by the way; this one is a former U.S. Ski Team cross-country coach and TV commentator. His content and presentation are splendid enough to qualify him as the Jane Fonda of cross-country ski videos. In addition to visiting the Fischer ski factory in Austria, Graves, dividing the tape into six chapters, explains the different skating techniques while two Austrian National Team members demonstrate. There’s also a section on advances in equipment as well as a dry-land training section. And because waxing is so important in cross-country, he spends a good 20 minutes on that alone. The last chapter is devoted to a World Cup race held in Minnesota last year, featuring Swede Gunde Svan, a major figure in the sport for nearly a decade. (MDC, $29.95 each, $54 for both; 800-772-1234)