Assume that there is an eruv between one's home and shul. Can one cross country ski to shul on Shabbat? Possible concerns:

  • Making marks (tracks) in the snow with the skis and poles. Is this any melacha that may be prohibited?

  • Related to this M.Y. question - This is strenuous exercise that is not for refu'ah and it is not for the purpose of enjoyment. (Assume that the person generally likes X-country skiing, but since there is heavy snow, he'd rather be home if he could. It's that he's the Torah reader, so he has to get to shul.)

  • RE: Marking the snow: possibly similar to Memachaik/smoothing or its' Toldah Memaraich/smearing. I vaguely recall hearing that applied to snow. Commented Aug 13, 2015 at 19:09
  • What about walking through deep snow? You will leave furrows that way, too Commented Aug 13, 2015 at 21:35
  • @DanF I understand that using a cane on Shabbat is acceptable if one cannot walk without it. The cane, in a sense, becomes part of a person's limb. If the person, can walk a bit without a cane, it is prohibited unless there is an eruv. Cross-country skiing I imagine would be similar in terms of the pole. Or can you skii without the pole?
    – JJLL
    Commented Aug 13, 2015 at 22:23
  • @JJLL Technically, you can ski without the poles. It requires a lot more effort this way, though. The poles help push you along and provide a bit of balance. Regardless, I don't think that using the poles would be any more or less of a problem than the skis themselves. They both make a mark in the snow. Assuming the snow is deep enough (it's almost impossible to XC ski on less than about 4 inches of soft snow, I've found), the poles would leave a small mark rather than a hole.
    – DanF
    Commented Aug 14, 2015 at 1:56
  • related: judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/78258/…
    – Loewian
    Commented Nov 30, 2017 at 21:10

2 Answers 2


Some opinions prohibit biking on the grounds that the bike might break and the rider be tempted to fix it and some on the grounds that it might create furrows in the ground which would be plowing (though only a rabbinic prohibition, if you don't intend it or benefit from it). Others hold that biking is prohibited as a mundane activity or that, as something designed primarily for transit in a public space, a bicycle is kli shem'lachto l'issur. (see the discussion here and read here for the lenient view, which still concludes you should be stringent and avoid it). All of those objections would seem to also apply to skiing.

  • 1
    I'm not seeing your comparison to skiing. Furrows in the ground are more permanent than tracks in the snow. WHen the snow melts or there is more snow, they are no longer there; that may be a factor. Also, you are allowed to walk in the snow even with the imprints from your boots being made in it. Also, how do you know that a ski is kli shem'lachto l'issur as a bike is?
    – DanF
    Commented Aug 13, 2015 at 20:25
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    – mevaqesh
    Commented Aug 13, 2015 at 21:44

There's nothing wrong with skiing on Shabbos (within an eruv) in my understanding:

  1. Walking on snow and leaving unintentional marks is permitted.
  2. Using skates or other forms of gliding is (basically) also permitted.
  3. Using sticks for walking in rain when necessary is permitted by Mishnah Berura (source needed).
  4. Using skis for heavy snow (when hard to reach without) does not count as Uvdin DeChol, as something special for weekdays, only for leisure.
  5. Skis and sticks don"t require fixing, so we can't forbid them "Shema...". Or maybe it requires kind of oiling before going out, which is forbidden?
  • 1
    You start by saying there's nothing wrong, and conclude that you don't know if it's forbidden. Looks more like a comment than an answer.
    – mevaqesh
    Commented Dec 5, 2017 at 13:25
  • Could you please edit in sources as best you can for your halachic assertions?
    – Isaac Moses
    Commented Dec 5, 2017 at 15:10
  • Friendly reminder to what I stated in a previous question. If I asked this of my rabbi (which is what we state on this site), and he gave me these answers, I would ask him how he knows his info. Kal Vachomer if you are not a rabbi, or you are a rabbi that many of us don't know, you should be referring to some source to back up your answer. As I stated, you're probably better off delaying and typing an answer that is sourced.
    – DanF
    Commented Dec 5, 2017 at 15:34
  • Re #5 - I don't ski that much. But I can tell you that XC skis should be waxed (though, that can be done before Shabbat). The binding does occasionally break, but it's rare. Similarly, poles do snap or bend depending on their material. Wooden ones snap far more easily than metal ones. I agree that I don't suspect this to be a concern as far as melacha. Also, one could ski without the poles, but it requires more effort. #4 - Uvdin Dechol might be irrelevant, here, as you are walking to / from shul.
    – DanF
    Commented Dec 5, 2017 at 15:41

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