Smokies Skiwalking School

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If you’ve seen people swinging ski poles from September to October across Jackson and Swain counties, then you’ve witnessed one of the fastest-growing fitness trends in the country – Nordic Walking or Skiwalking. The Smokies Skiwalking School for Fall 2019 has officially ended with the school walking trails at Smoky Mountain Elementary in Whittier, Pinnacle Park in Sylva, and the Oconaluftee River Trail in Cherokee.
Invented in Finland in the 1930s by cross-country skiers who wanted to stay in shape during the warmer months, millions of Scandinavians and Central Europeans today are seeing the health benefits of turning a simple walk into a full-body workout. If you would like additional information and/or special instruction of this exercise please contact Jackson and Swain County Extension Director Robert J. Hawk. Research shows that using walking poles increases upper body strength, heart rate, caloric burn, and endurance while enhancing stability, reducing stress on knees, and releasing neck and shoulder tension. (In Germany, their purchase is covered by insurance companies as a health care expense!)  They are also very good to use during times of winter and ice since they give the walker extra stability and support from slipping. The next “Smokies Skiwalking School” will be in the Spring of 2020, so please call or email Robert J. Hawk for more information at 586-4009 or 488-3848 or email him at