Stationary turns for both Classic and Skating
Your first day of cross-country skiing, whether a distant memory, or a soon reality, will bring a wide array of sensations. Fear knocks first with thoughts of high speed downhills and black and blue butt cheeks, but soon forgotten once the flat trails open before you. Then comes the sensation of glide, like a sweet voice beckoning you farther down the trail. Then you stop and look behind, only to see the two-story touring center is now a dot amidst the naked aspen trees. You decide to turn your skis around to head back but find these floppy diet sticks have a mind of their own, and you haven't a clue how.
Finally, the maneuver of changing direction is accomplished but not without its challenges. You might have experienced the tangled mess of ski tip and tail, or the echo of your accelerating heart as your mind and body try to untangle the floppy ski tails out of the powdery snow. You seemed to manage but not with bests choice for the situation or the pizzazz you deserve.
Choices for turning around, otherwise called a stationary turn, are many. If we omit the mid air 180-jump turn and the collapse and slither to redirect the skis then we end up with four distinct moves.
The Tip, Tail, Foot and Kick turn are the four of choice, the latter requiring dexterous angularities, but fun and fast to perform once you know the right moves. The main point of all these is that they take very little space on the trail with one for the exact situation you find yourself in.
The easiest part of the first three moves is the name given to them — they are exactly what the name is.
THE TIP TURN
The Tip Turn is good because you can see what you are doing and enforces the same movement pattern for an “A” position used in a gliding wedge for slowing on a downhill.
Notice that we are making multiple “V” steps in the snow. This is the same “V” position skier’s use in the uphill herringbone and the same position for skating. It's also the same movement pattern for step turns.
Many people feel the tail turn offers the best turning stability because they can feel the tail pressure on the snow. They can also easy to see how high to lift up the ski tip to clear powdery snow.
Start by drawing a small circle in the snow then step in and center your feet in the middle. Now start taking small steps to turn around. Notice that your tips come together but with the next step it's your tails — like a tip and tail combo turn.
The advantage of the kick turn is that the skier can turn around very quickly, and on narrow trails, in only two moves. The key is using the poles for balance and picking which foot to use for the first step.
Stability for the entire move comes from the pole plant. Begin by planting your right pole near the tails of your skis then plant the left pole near the tip of your skis. Don't lock at your elbows but keep them relaxed while planting the poles vertically, pole tips underneath the hands. With your arms out spread, your body is now open to the direction of your first step.
Your leg on this open side is the right leg—the leg you’ll use for the first move. Another quick check on the pole plants to make sure they're firm in the snow and providing stability, then it's no turning back.
To begin this first "kick around" with the right ski, use the knee to start lifting up the ski tip. Then kick your foot forward and up to help set the ski tail in the snow out in front of you. Now pivot the tail away from you and let the ski swing the 180 degrees into the new direction.
As the ski swings over and touches the snow, your body weight should follow so that you can quickly swing the other ski around to match. Now both skis should be facing the new direction. Bring your left pole around and your ready to ski off into the sunset.
With practice, you'll find a favorite turn that works best for you in each situation. As they become second nature your thoughts will begin turning to the pure enjoyment of cross-country skiing and never having to look back.
CLASSIC TECHNIQUE: Diagonal Stride; Adjusting Pole Straps; Arm Swing; Double Pole; Kick-Double Pole. CLASSIC UPHILL TECHNIQUE: Classic Uphill Diagonal; Edging; Side Step; Herringbone. DOWNHILLS AND TURNING: Getting up from a fall; Kick Turn; Track Snowplow; Five Tips for the Diagonal Stride; Kick Double Pole. SKATE SKIING: Ten Tips for the V-1; V-2 skate technique; Marathon Skate. ALL AROUND: Stationary Turns; Step Turns. RESOURCES: Nordic Glossary; 20 Q and A; History of Cross Country Skiing
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