The NordicTrack company was founded in 1975 by Edward Pauls in Chaska, Minnesota. An avid cross country skier, Pauls designed the first NordicTrack skier around 1970. The skier's success in the 1970s and 1980s resulted in Pauls selling the company to the CML Group in 1986. In 1998, Icon Health and Fitness acquired the NordicTrack line from the CML Group. This is considered a pivotal moment in the NordicTrack skier product line.
Many NordicTrack fans differentiate between skiers made before 1999 and those made after. Before 1999, NordicTrack skiers were made in Minnesota, the same state where NordicTrack originated. When Icon Health and Fitness acquired the NordicTrack brand in 1998, they moved production overseas to China. The Pro skier is a pre-1999 model, while the Classic Pro is the current model as of 2010.
The basic function of both the Pro skier and Classic Pro skier is the same. The motion mimics cross country skiing with both upper and lower body movements. You move your arms opposite your legs -- as your right leg slides forward, your right arm slides back, for example.
The features of the two machines are very similar. They both offer manually adjustable leg and arm resistance, as well as an incline feature. To incline either model you must manually adjust the lock pins in the legs of the machine. The Classic Pro has a console that displays the time elapsed, speed, distance and approximate calories burned. It also has a pulse sensor and shows your heart rate.
Consumers who differentiate between pre-1999 skiers and post-1999 skiers generally consider the latter to be of inferior quality, according to websites such as NordicTrackGuy.com and NordicFitnessTrack.com, which specialize in taking new NordicTrack machines and rebuilding them to older NordicTrack specifications.
The Classic Pro is the only skier model available as of October 2010, as the Pro model is no longer made. However, there are several websites and some retailers that sell refurbished Pro skiers and other pre-1999 models.