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The Beginners Survival Guide to Cross Country Skiing

  1. Introduction & Equipment Sizing
  2. Boot/Binding Combinations

Part 1
Skills For Flat Terrain

  1. Basic Diagonal Stride
  2. Adjusting Pole Straps
  3. Arm Movement in the Diagonal Stride
  4. The Double Pole
  5. Kick Double Pole

Part 2
Skills For Uphill Terrain

  1. Uphill Diagonal Stride
  2. Edging your skis for control
  3. Side Step
  4. Herringbone

Part 3
Downhills & Turning

  1. Getting Up From a Fall
  2. Kick Turn
  3. Track Snowplow




Part 1: Skills For Flat Terrain
Level:beginning ski tips intermediate

Arm Movement In The Diagonal Stride

classic ski lesson Diagonal stride Ski Technique
Let the arms and hands relax.

An arm swing that uses a full range of motion is the key to relaxed skiing. The forward hand position as well as a backward push or "follow through" will complete the motion.

To experience the correct arm swing, begin with the arms relaxed at your side. From there, start swinging the arms equal distance forward and back: the same motion used by experienced skiers. The arm motion should mimic the same motion we use when skiing without poles (2a-c). Just let the arms relax and they will find the correct movement naturally.


diagonal stride arm swing technique
Because of the bowling ball's weight, the path of the hand is low as it swings forward

Believe it or not, a good image to think of while skiing is a bowler's arm motion. Each time visualize their hand at the beginning of the swing. The arm swings the ball back then starts it’s underhand throw towards the pins. Because of the ball’s weight, the path of the hand is low as it passes the hip to release. This forward momentum carries the hand through, then the pole plant begins.

arm swing parallel with the skis
Keep the arm-swing parallel with the skis

Now, let the hand follow that same path on the push back. With the hand forward, but low, the pole is angled and in position to plant near the foot. Start by pushing straight down on the pole, relaxing your grip so that pressure is on the pole strap. As you continue to push, your hand should pass well below your hip then continue back for a full extension and follow through (3-2).


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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