You’ve started cross-country skiing and mastered the basic strides, but do you really know which technique to employ depending on the slope? If it’s a climb, a descent, or on the flat… you don’t go about it the same way. MySkirent sheds some light so that you don’t wear yourself out with unnecessary effort.
You remember our first article, Juju from ESF explained to us the difference between the classic and the skating technique.
The classic technique involves gliding on groomed tracks, the skating technique is practiced off the tracks and uses a similar movement to ice-skating or roller-skating.
THE CLASSIC TECHNIQUE
1) The diagonal stride: It’s the easiest technique for beginners to learn as it’s much like walking.
The skier pushes off one foot to urge the body forwards, then glides on the opposing ski. Arms play an important role as the skier needs to perform a poling action on the arm opposite the ski they pushed off from.
When should this stride be used? On the uphill slopes, because it enables use of the body’s full strength (arms, torso and legs).
When not to use it? When going downhill because the jerky movements impede speed.
2) The double pole stride or “double-push”: It’s the fastest!
The skier pushes with both poles simultaneously, keeping their skis parallel, no pause, no stopping… so it’s fast but very tiring, as the skier is using only the strength in their arms, torso and abdominal muscles.
3) The kick double pole or “one-step double pole”:
The skier uses a simultaneous pole push alternatively to a kick of the leg.
It’s the transitional stride between the two previous ones, it associates the speed from pushing off the poles with your arms, with the momentum from kicking your legs.
When should this stride be used? It’s best adapted to flat terrains or gentle uphill slopes
THE SKATING TECHNIQUE
1) The V or “diagonal” stride: The slowest!
This stride is recommended for beginners as it enables the skier to ascend at low speed and using little effort. The skier glides one ski forwards using the opposite arm at the same time.
When should this stride be used? Only when ascending.
2) The V1 or “offset” stride:
One of the first strides to be learnt. It consists of pushing off the poles with your arms at every other push-off with the legs. The pushing on the arms should be performed simultaneously with the pushing on the leg.
When should this stride be used? On all slopes, but it’s particularly well adapted for skiing uphill.
3) The V2 or “1-skate”:
The skier gives a push on the poles at each change of leg, allowing for an extended glide.
When should this stride be used? On the flat, for gently rising slopes and for sprints.
4) The V2 alternate or “2-skate”: this stride is used like the “1-skate”, but [on every second leg push,] with a push-off of the arms slightly before the leg, similar to the “offset” stride.
When should this stride be used? It’s generally used for gentle downhill slopes.
5) The skate without poles or “free-skate”: If you reach such a speed that you can no-longer use your poles, then you can just perform a straightforward skating motion in order to not lose momentum, just like in roller-skating.
When should this stride be used? This stride is generally used when the slope flattens out at the bottom of a descent.
Don’t forget to learn how to stop, turn, slow down…
How to stop without letting yourself fall over?
In cross-country skiing you can slow down and stop using the snowplough method, by sliding on the inside edges of your skis [whilst pushing outwards with your heels].
To avoid falling down, remember to bend your knees and ankles. The harder you push with your heels, the quicker you’ll come to a halt.
Stopping by sideslipping as with Alpine skiing can be far more tricky because you’ll have much less balance.
To avoid obstacles, you need to know how to turn!
The skier uses the turning step, which involves pushing the external leg in a curve, while pointing the internal ski in the desired direction.
We’ve covered all the main techniques. No more unnecessary efforts, it’s up to you to choose the right stride!
Having the right equipment remains essential, why not take a look at the advice from the community on the renters.