skate or classic

Cross-country skiing - choose your style: skate or classic?

Want to take up cross-country skiing but don't know which style to choose between


Discover the differences between the two styles and find the one that's best for you!



Cross-country or Nordic skiing is the ideal winter sport for those looking for a sliding feeling and want to immerse themselves in the great outdoors. Whether you’re an experienced athlete looking to stretch yourself or simply a nature lover taking up a relaxing hobby, this sport will bring you enjoyment!

Classic cross-country and skate skiing are practised in Nordic areas, on packed snow slopes specifically for Nordic skiing, on somewhat hilly terrain.

As in downhill skiing, the slope difficulty level is colour coded, namely green, blue, red and black. The green slope being the easiest and black the most difficult. Recreational areas for beginners are found more and more frequently in resorts.

You will easily find the slope that suits you, whatever your level!

Cross-country skate skiing

This more modern technique is only practised on packed snow slopes by making a sliding step similar to ice skating or roller skiing, with the help of ski poles. This step leaves a V shape in the snow behind you.

Are you looking for a great sliding feeling, speed and to be pushed physically? This style is for you!

It is more for intermediate skiers, however you can learn the basic techniques quickly in 1 or 2 sessions with an instructor.

And if you are looking for a sporting recreational activity, we recommend you try out BIATHLON which combines cross-country skiing with rifle shooting!


Cross-country skate skiing equipment

Skate skis are shorter than classic skis and the poles are longer. The skate ski base does not have a kick zone, unlike classic cross-country skis. It is completely smooth and needs to be waxed regularly for a better slide.

Boots with a high upper are used to provide better ankle support.

Adapt your equipment according to the intensity of your effort.

Classic cross-country skiing

This style is similar to a sliding walk and is the traditional movement technique at theorigins of the sport.

It generally consists of moving forward in two parallel lines, or on packed snow slopes. Arm and leg movements are the same as walking or running.

The skier advances in line with help from poles by leaning alternately on each foot (give a little push and slide with each stride).

When starting out, it is recommended to begin with classic cross-country skiing as it’s easier to grasp the technique due to its similarity to a sliding walk. Nevertheless, to master the classic style perfectly, it will take lots of discipline and perseverance!



Classic cross-country skiing equipment

Classic skis have an anti-reverse system, effective for propelling you forward and therefore advancing faster.

Boots with a mid upper and a flexible base are used to benefit from good foot motion and an effective push-off.

Adapt your equipment according to the intensity of your effort.


Classic cross-country skiing can also be practised off-piste in Nordic areas with the appropriate equipment so you can discover large snowy expanses in the great outdoors. Don't venture too far from the slopes if you’re a beginner. If you want to go further then it’s best to arrange a mountain guide to accompany you so you can enjoy these snowy expanses with piece of mind.


Nordic cruising is skiing close to the slopes, a sort of leisurely stroll style of cross-country skiing where you can experience nature. Nordic cruising cross-country skis are wider yet still efficient on tracks, making for a stable descent. The ski tip is more rounded than a classic cross-country ski and smaller in size.


Backcountry lets you escape to the great outdoors, a style of cross-country skiing good for a day trip, or several days, with a backpack or pulka. Backcountry cross-country skis are wider, with edges for advancing in deep snow on all terrains. Their base may have scales or skins to help you advance.

roller skis

Roller skis for off-season

Roller skiing is a sporting activity also known as skiing on wheels or skiroll and is practised on paved tracks using the same techniques as cross-country skiing: classic or skate.

This activity is for all cross-country skiers who want to continue their training in off-season, as well as those who want to discover an extremely complete sport accessible to all.

Interesting tips

classic cross-country skiing


Cross-country skiing is increasingly popular, accessible to all and enables you to unwind while enjoying snowy landscapes. Whether it's classic, skating or Nordic hiking, there's something for everyone!