29 October 2020

Cross country skiing: Experience the Mountains from a different perspective

November 20, 2013
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Learning the techniques

Now at this point I imagine that those of you who have never tried cross country skiing might be intrigued to learn more about this great winter sport. If you are a keen runner, triathlete, swimmer, rower, cyclist, or simply enjoy maintaining a good level of physical fitness then a week of cross country ski training would give your training program a substantial boost this winter. And for those committed alpine skiers amongst you, who may consider cross country the poor relation at the snow sports table, I hope to show you how wrong your preconceptions are.


For anyone new to cross country skiing it helps to understand that there are two basic techniques; classic and skate.

Classic technique is a little more traditional. The skis stay parallel to each other and it can be enjoyed on groomed tracks or ‘off-piste’ in the form of Nordic-touring. Classic skiing is a better technique for anyone getting onto skis for the first time, as it closely resembles walking or running.

I love this technique. When the snow is cold and the wax grips well, a couple of hours classic skiing in the morning is my winter alternative to a long trail run. Here the legs do most of the work, but there’s a real tempo and rhythm to it and at race pace it provides an amazing cardio-vascular workout!

Skate skiing requires a groomed surface and is easiest for those with some previous skiing experience. This technique keeps skis in a V-shape, with the angle of the V changing as speeds change, which closely resembles ice-skating or rollerblading. It is more demanding on the upper body than classic skiing and has a powerful feel to it when done well.

I love Skate skiing for the sense of ‘Flow’ that you can achieve. When you’re feeling in great shape, you’re adapting your ski technique well to the terrain and the glide is good; it almost feels like you’re flying!

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