Cross-Country Ski Tips

Cross-Country Ski Tips
Cross-country skiing is a prehistoric method of travel and a sporting tradition originating in Scandinavian and Norwegian areas. Today it is used as a mode of exploration, sight-seeing and exercise all over the snowy regions of the world. If you are just starting out, there are several basic techniques you should practice.

Poles as Balance

Reach your arms out with your ski poles as you transfer weight during your kick and glides. Do not rely on your poles to push off but use your poles as balance points and to enhance your momentum and motion.

Weight Shifts

When skiing up slight inclines it is important to shift your weight from ski to ski completely and do not lean too far forward or your skis are liable to slip. Many cross-country skis are made with a scaled pattern under the cambered middle section for traction on slight hills. Plant your weight into your heels and use shorter strides when going up small inclines.


When making your way up steeper hills splay your skis apart with tips pointing away from each other in a V. Step up, planting one ski in front of the other, planting one pole and then the other behind the skis. This creates a herringbone pattern and is thus called the herringbone technique.

Gaining Speed

Use both poles at the same time to kick and glide and increase your speed down a slight hill. Reach forward with both poles while kicking off on one ski and then onto your other ski with another double pole plant.

Use Your Abs

Use your abdominals to fuel your momentum and motions. Your core muscles will help you to kick and glide and stay strong throughout your entire ski session.


Keep extra wax on you if you have a ski that takes wax and you are on a long cross-country ski trip. If you have wax-less ski bases, then you can use a glide wax to get an extra smooth ride on warmer days when snow might stick.

Article Written By Naomi Judd

Naomi M. Judd is a naturalist, artist and writer. Her work has been published in various literary journals, newspapers and websites. Judd holds a self-designed Bachelor of Arts in adventure writing from Plymouth State University and is earning a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from the University of Southern Maine.

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