Cross-country skiing is a relatively new activity that has gained considerable attention in recent decades. However, even though it is a growing sport, it is still lacking in the amount of participation when compared to other sports such as soccer and baseball.

So, if you have been thinking about trying cross-country skiing, but have been hesitant because you have never done it before, depending on your location, you may not be used to the cold winter months. But, what if you could enjoy all of the fun of an outdoor sport without having to worry about the frigid temperatures?

Cross-country skiing offers a fun pastime for both beginners and expert skiers. It’s simple to acquire, but finding the appropriate equipment may be difficult. That’s why we have put together this beginner’s guide!

Cross-country skiing (XC), sometimes abbreviated as Nordic skiing, represents a type of skiing wherein the skiers navigate across winter weather terrain utilizing their natural locomotion instead of just ski lifts or alternative types of help.

Originally called “Nordic” skiing, this activity originated in Norway and Finland and is therefore sometimes referred to as “Nordic skiing”.

Skiing is also a great means of transport over snowy terrain, with its roots dating back to the 1700s when Norwegian residents would use skis to traverse steep mountains.

What is the definition of cross-country skiing?

Cross-country skiing is an outdoor sport that requires endurance, strength, technique, and patience. The longer the skier grinds uphill, the greater descent they can enjoy on the other side.

Skiers should have good balance and aerobic fitness to enjoy xc skiing.

If you’re looking for a new wintertime activity that’s fun, social, and great for your health, cross-country skiing is just the sport for you. You can choose between classic or skate styles, but make sure to consider what equipment is needed before you hit the slopes. On cross-country skis, enthusiasts can glide across trails, mountains, or fields at their own pace. In addition to long-distance events, some people engage in cross-country as a recreational activity as well.

The First and most Typical Techniques for Cross-Country Skiing

Choosing the Best Stance

Amongst the most fundamental ski drills would be the diagonal stride. When skiing, you’ll alternate the locations of your poles and feet: both arms and legs will be in front and behind you. This will help you create a “figure 8” when skiing, which will make it easier to control your skiing with one hand on the pole and the other carving turns along the slope.

You will always be switching back and forth like a normal walking style, but instead of using your legs, you are using your arms to push off of the ice.

It’s simple to float along without understanding the specific manner at first, but it’s strongly recommended that you rehearse to acquire the feel of it. As a result, ensure that your posture is always in the proper position whenever you begin and that your feet and ankles follow your instructions.

Approaches for Level Terrain Cross-Country Skiing

Skiing is a fusion of art and science, requiring skiers to balance artistry and athleticism in a single effort. While skiing requires coordination and planning, it must be tempered with spontaneity. When you learn to plan with your turns, you can also practice the art of reacting quickly to dangerous or unpredictable conditions. Thankfully, this can be practiced by using skills taught in beginner lessons.

Fundamental Diagonal Stride plus Arm Movements

The diagonal stride is the most common technique used to ski across flat terrain as well as inclines. In comparison to other techniques, it requires a relatively low amount of energy and coordination.

When practicing this technique, the skier’s torso should remain upright and their arms and legs should swing at an obtuse angle from one another. Thus, a diagonal stride is a great way to begin learning how to cross-country ski. The diagonal stride is the single most popular technique used by skiers because it’s efficient and effective.

It can take you up a hill or across a flat surface better than any other technique.

The fundamental diagonal stride has three major modules: your weight transference, your kick, and your body posture.

You’re Weight Transference

To come into a back balance on the ski, lower your center of gravity over your front ski by bending at the knees, and leaning forward. While stepping, maintain your body weight toward the front ski.

Every step should slightly shift your body weight for a smooth transition from one ski to the next. You can start with short steps and work up to longer ones — counting 5-10 steps before changing — depending on how balanced you feel.

Once you understand that your body is the key to making it work, then it’s just a matter of getting into position. You’ll notice that when you apply pressure to your front foot, it will bounce back off the ground, transferring weight to your other foot, which will bounce back. This rhythm repeats itself endlessly until you want to stop.


As you learn how to transfer your weight onto your front foot, it’s also important to know how you pressure your ski to get a grip in the snow — we call this kick. Knowing when and how to kick will help you control your speed and direction with ease.

Your body shouldn’t move much when you skid, but if necessary, it’s okay to adjust by pushing the back of your leg into the boot cuff. On the surface, the kick might appear simple: point your ski down and drive it into the snow to get a grip and move forward.

Digging deeper, however, shows that the kick is one of the most difficult maneuvers to master — but also one of the most powerful ways to improve skiing performance. You can get a better understanding of this technique by watching someone who has mastered it.

Arm movements

To prepare for skiing, you need to be completely comfortable on the slopes. There are two basic movements that you need to be able to control: the kick and the glide. Learning how to do both of these movements so you can ski freely will take some practice.

While you’re learning how to ski, your skis will feel as if they have a mind of their own. You’ll find yourself fighting to keep them parallel as they move from side to side.

Your shoulders should be relaxed, your hands should open and close naturally, and your elbows should be kept to the outside of your knees. You should be able to have the same arm movement with ski poles as you do when you try to walk without poles.

Double Pole

Cross-country skiers have a lot of techniques at their disposal – freestyle or classic, diagonal or double poles – but one works equally well for both styles: the double pole. In classic skiing, the double pole is used during downhills, to maintain balance and stability at high speeds. In freestyle skating, it’s done during turns to make faster turns possible.

When you’re on level terrain or going downhill, the double pole is a superb method to keep your pace up. Standing up plus compressing constitute the two fundamental elements of the double pole method.

Standing up

Standing upright is the first step toward the double method. Extend your forearms forward safely having your arms moderately bent. Keep in mind that ski poles remain angled backward well with tips facing your feet. Now stretch your legs to prepare them again for the push.


Start with a quick jump with your hips extending forward. Then push the ski poles into the snow and press down, compressing your legs and back at the same time.

Finally, lean and bend to match the angle of your lower leg, and your upper body will follow — you’ll be in a parallel position with both arms and back at the same angle. To achieve uniformity, it is critical to repeat the process with a natural rhythm.

Approaches towards Uphill Cross-Country Skiing

Steep terrain calls for someone who knows the difference between good and bad techniques. When you’re on a mountain, you need to think about how you can maximize your movement.

If you go against gravity when you ski uphill, you’ll be stuck in place until you find a new route. You can’t depend solely on your superhuman strength. There’s a variety of techniques to choose from when going up a steep hill: you can use diagonal stride, diagonal striding with a pole, and so on.

One of the simplest and most effective ways to tackle the uphill is the side-step — putting your skis at an angle against the hill, lifting one ski one step forward. Repeat the movement with the other leg to go over the hill.


Another, more difficult climbing method is referred to as the herringbone. This technique involves turning your skis so they form the letter “V”, which you will use to help you ascend the hill. You will be moving laterally as you climb up a slope with the tip of one ski leading and its corresponding back ski trailing behind it.

The herringbone is one of the most difficult methods to master, but once you have mastered this technique it’s possible to climb much quicker than with the stem christie.

The Wedge/Downhill

When you’re learning to ski cross-country, one of the most challenging things to master is stopping. The wedge (alternatively referred to as the snowplow) is a great way to stop safely at the bottom of an incline.

Keep your skis on the track and lean back on them using your knees to initiate the wedge. It’s important not to lift your heels because this will cause you to lose control. It also helps to balance the skier and makes staying upright much easier.

It gets it derives from the notion that across your skis and also the ice, you should visualize a big triangle.

The wedge allows for a maximum glide over snow, and it gives the skier stability, which results in efficiency when descending hills.

Cross-country skiers can choose between classic cross-country skiing and skating, the former being more suitable for beginners. Wearing good cross-country skis, classic or skate, is just as important as finding the right pair of boots.

Before heading to the mountain, you’ll also need to pack your backpack with all of the necessary accessories like ski poles, water bottles, balaclavas, goggles, and other gear.

Categories: Sports

Nicolas Desjardins

Hello everyone, I am the main writer for SIND Canada. I’ve been writing articles for more than 10 years and I like sharing my knowledge. I’m currently writing for many websites and newspaper. All my ideas come from my very active lifestyle. I always keep myself very informed to give you the best information. In all my years as computer scientist made me become an incredible researcher. I believe that any information should be free, we want to know more every day because we learn everyday. You can contact me on our forum or by email at: [email protected].