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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




The Track Snowplow

The first experience in prepared tracks can leave the skier with a locked-in feeling. Tracks are prepared with grooves for skis, about two inches deep, to help them glide along without slipping sideways. While tracks are great on flats and gentle terrain, trying to slow down using the conventional snowplow or wedge can be difficult. But cut the wedge in half and you’ll find yourself slowing down and even turning around corners.

track snow plow
The Track Snowplow helps control speed in tracks

On double-tracked trails, always try to wedge between the two tracks. The terrain’s usually smooth there, while the outer edges are often narrower and bounded by deep snow banks that can interfere with the tail of the wedged ski.

Keep the knees flexed and arms forward. Transfer your weight to the track ski, then lift up the tail of the other ski (33a) and set it out into a wedge position (33b). Pressure the heel to slide the tail out and roll in the ankle to edge. To get used to this feeling, glide down a slight hill, keep most of your weight over the in-track ski and let the wedged ski's tail float over the snow. To slow down, keep the knees flexed and move your hips over to the foot above wedged ski (33c-d).

For downhills with turns at the bottom, get in position before you descend. It’s easier to set out the wedged ski while your still gliding slowly. If the turn veers left, step out and weight your outside (right) ski. Pressure your wedge ski throughout the corner until the track straightens out.

We've talked only of tracked trails but you’ll find that the same movements will work equally well for slowing and turning on packed downhill slopes.



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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