How to Turn on Cross Country Skis

How to Turn on Cross Country Skis
Cross-country skiing is the most physically strenuous form of skiing. Unlike downhill skiing, cross-country skiing only provides minimal amounts of inertia and gravity to work with, forcing the skier to do much more work to move up and down hills. This becomes even more complex when you have to change directions on the course. Turning while cross-country skiing is best done by capitalizing on brief downhill opportunities and letting gravity move you while you steer your skis. This can be a simple maneuver or a very challenging one, depending on how fast you need to turn.


Difficulty: Moderate

Things You’ll Need:
  • Cross-country skis
  • Ski poles
Step 1
Change your skiing direction gradually by pressing down gently on whichever ski is opposite the direction you want to turn toward. This creates increased friction and drag on one side of your skis while the other ski continues unbridled, pulling you in that direction. This extra pressure also slightly angles your skis in the direction you are traveling. Since most cross-country skiing courses feature wide, gradual turns, this is the most effective and frequently used method of turning.
Step 2
Lean slightly into the direction you want to turn. This will tilt your skis towards that direction. The harder you lean, the faster you will change course, but you want to be careful--if you lean too far and aren't on a banked section of the course, your skis can slip out from under you, causing you to crash.
Step 3
Make a more aggressive turn, known as the step turn, by placing the ski opposite the side you wish to turn toward slightly in front of the other ski. Lift your turning side leg up and use your opposite side pole to push your body toward your turning side. Turn your opposite side ankle into the direction you want to turn--the more drastic the turn, the more abrupt your ankle's movement should be. Place your turning side ski down on the snow, pointing into the direction you are turning, then lift your opposite leg and adjust it so that your skis are parallel to one another. Bring your poles forward and plow them into the snow to propel yourself forward.

Article Written By Jonathan Croswell

Jonathan Croswell has spent more than five years writing and editing for a number of newspapers and online publications, including the "Omaha World-Herald" and "New York Newsday." Croswell received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Nebraska and is currently pursuing a Master's of Health and Exercise Science at Portland State University.

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