How to improve my cross-country skiing technique

How to improve my cross-country skiing technique

Are you an amateur cross-country skier who skis a few times in the winter but would now like to (literally) move up a gear? We’ll give you our tips on how to improve your cross-country skiing technique, whether you are a skating or classical skier.

By doing a few targeted exercises, you will be more efficient and therefore save energy! 
Don't hesitate!

How to improve my cross-country skiing technique

Work on your cardio all year round to make it pay in cross-country skiing

Yes, there is no secret, if you want to perform in Nordic skiing, you will have to maintain your physical shape all year round. Cross-country skiing is a very complete sport and requires a lot of cardio, so endurance and weight training will be a good basis to arrive at the snow at your best! And overall, think about sports that promote coordination of movements and balance, such as yoga. Because to progress in cross-country skiing you will sometimes put yourself off balance.
Conversely, cross-country skiing is an alternative sport for runners who do not wish to run on snowy trails.
And if you are a fanatic you can also practice all year round thanks to the wheel skis! 

In short, prepare yourself well because afterwards it's no longer a joke!

Cross-country ski training without poles 

In skating as in classic, you have to know how to crush the ski in order to give back a maximum of energy and be able to slide well. And training without the sticks allows you to learn to balance without support. In cross-country skiing the weight shift from one foot to the other is what makes you slide. Optimizing your glide is always interesting and this exercise will help you do it.
With your skis on but without the poles, you give the impulse with one leg, while throwing your arms diagonally forward, to keep the right movement with the arms if you are skating, both arms forward if you prefer classic cross-country skiing. And you alternate left, right, left, right ...!
Be careful to observe your physical alignment as well. You look, of course, to where you want to go, the hip, the knee and the sliding foot should be in line.
This allows you to see immediately if you have a tendency to force your arms too much during your outings, a very common mistake especially when you are a beginner or when you only ski occasionally.

Optimise the use of your poles in classic cross-country skiing

Forcing on your arms can only work if you are very muscular, otherwise, your neck will be stiff the day after a cross-country skiing trip! So learn to work, less but better, you will go further.
On flat ground, you will have to use your arms to move forward. This movement allows you to understand how the arms, and in fact the whole trunk, are an important resource for moving faster.
By becoming fully aware of the usefulness of your arms in classic cross-country skiing, you can become more efficient.

In skating you can also work on your pole use

Poles in hand, you are going to pick up the snow at about the height of your boot binding on your ski. Plant the sticks, with your arms slightly bent (this is important to be able to push because an already stretched arm would not have enough strength). When your hands reach your hips, you can release all your fingers except your thumb and index finger. And the stick continues to run backwards. You will then take the sticks in your hands and replant them forward.

How to improve my cross-country skiing technique

You can also gain speed when climbing (yes! )

To be able to progress in cross-country skiing, you will have to manage climbs! And whether it's classic or skating, or downhill skiing, you probably already know the duck technique...
If you are a classic, you will have to get out of the tracks to make the duck. Position your skis like the legs of a duck, and press the edges inside the skis to maximize the grip.
Then you move forward by pressing successively on the right foot and then the left, alternating arms and legs.
You can start on the flat to train so that you are comfortable when you face a slope!

In skating or classic cross-country skiing, braking and turning is important!

When you start cross-country skiing there is one thing you are always a little apprehensive about: this is descending. And the techniques are very similar.
The most basic move also used by the pros is the snowplough. If you have any knowledge of downhill skiing, you know what we are talking about. It's really quite straightforward: you must make a "pointy hat" with the front of your skis. Keep your knees flexible. And if the skis overlap it's a guaranteed fall!

As in skating, if you have a basic knowledge of roller skates or ice skates, you start with an advantage for the technique used to turn, which is logically called: the turning step. You turn while continuing to move forward. Basically you lean on the ski that is on the side you want to go, and every step you take with the other ski pushes you in the intended direction.

If you have mastered the above two techniques, you can also try your hand at teardown, but be careful here: The edges of cross-country skis are not the same as those on piste skis. This makes it much easier to skid since you are not "cutting" the snow. Reserved for the most experienced!

Remember also that for your efforts to be rewarded, your skis must be well maintained! Before your first outing, remember to wax your skis yourself (or have a professional do it for you).

And of course keep in mind that before you start cross-country skiing, a few lessons with a professional will allow you to learn the right reflexes to have even more fun afterwards!

How to improve my cross-country skiing technique


Cross-country ski communication manager

Boardsports enthusiast