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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: beginneradvanced

Kick Double Pole

To keep up momentum in all types of terrain, we need to choose our technique wisely. For skiing up and down hills, the choice is natural. On uphills, the diagonal stride provides grip and glide as long as its not too steep. On downhills, a simple tuck does the trick with the help of a double pole push or two. But the flats are where many skiers are left in a quandary. Here, the diagonal stride is fast but its movements can leave us off balance, especially at high speeds. The double pole works, but many of us don't have the arm strength to keep it up for long. If you find yourself in between these two techniques, try the Kick Double Pole.

kick double pole technique
The kick-double-pole is an intermediate technique for maintaining speed in flat or slightly downhill terrain

The kick double pole technique provides power from a mule-like single kick followed by a double pole push. Because we’re gliding on both feet after poling, it's stable and gives a moment of rest.

KDP Checklist
1. As we begin the kick, our hands should be down at our side (5b). If our hands are already forward during the kick we’ll lose momentum.
2. Once we complete the kick and our foot is still behind, quickly plant the poles to begin the double pole push (5d).
3. As we double pole, our rear leg returns to finish gliding on both feet (5f).
4. Our goal is to alternate kicking feet between each double pole push.
The timing is just like its name; kick-double pole. After we finish one step/kick, we'll follow it with a single double pole (5h).

To learn its rhythm and movements, start by standing in place and repeat the name, "kick - double pole". As we say the word “kick”, swing one leg back and simultaneously swing the arms forward (5b-d). Then as we say "double pole", swing the arms down and back (don't plant the poles for now) and bring the rear foot forward and parallel with the other (5g). Repeat this a few times until we feel a natural rhythm. To keep it simple, kick the same leg back each time.

Once we feel comfortable with the rhythm we’re ready to go. To get grip and power from the kicking ski, pressure it as you do in the diagonal stride (5b). It's a forceful downward kick to get the wax or pattern to grip on the snow, then back.


animated kick double pole


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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