Skate Ski Like a Pro

Why glide when you can fly? That’s how skate skiing feels compared to classic XC: fast. But poor form wastes energy from your toes to your fingertips. Follow the advice of pro Nordic skier Jessie Diggins.
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Why glide when you can fly? That’s how skate skiing feels compared to classic XC: fast. But poor form wastes energy from your toes to your fingertips. Follow the advice of pro Nordic skier Jessie Diggins.
skate ski

Fast fitness: Skate skiing burns more than 700 calories per hour. (Pictured: Moraine Lake Road, Banff National Park) photo by Andrew Querner / Aurora Photos

1. Get in ready position. Start in a typical athletic stance: Bend your knees and elbows, curve your back into a semi “C” shape, and make sure your center of gravity is over your feet so you’re ready to absorb any bump in the trail.

2. Complete each kick. Skate skiing differs from classic skiing in that you use a side-to-side kick to propel yourself forward, like ice skating. “But since skis are much longer than ice skates,” Diggins says, “it’s important to complete the kick on one side before shifting your body weight to the other.” Finishing your kick will give you a faster glide and smoother skate.

3. Stay aligned. Imagine a box made up of the corners of your shoulders and hips, and imagine that box facing down the trail at all times. The box should move side-to-side, but not twist.

4. Keep your core engaged. This encourages every single part of your body to work together.

5. Use your arms. Pushing off both poles in unison is called a “V2.”To coordinate your arms with what your legs are doing, simultaneously plant (don’t slam) your poles next to you as you initiate a kick. Crunch your core, pulling yourself forward.

6. Enjoy the glide. To get the most out of each kick, relax your grip on your poles and rest for a moment, keeping your knees, ankles, and elbows loose, and your back curved and active (don’t stand up tall) while you glide.