I do not recommend cross-country skiing.

I do not recommend cross-country skiing.

Classical Style Cross-Country Skiing
Skate or Freestyle Skiing

But, if you are already a nordic-junky freak, then you are past saving. And in that case, dear reader, read on!

If you have only learned to use the classic skiing technique (see above), then I suggest that you stick with this worldview. If, on the other hand, you want to learn skate skiing, or you want to improve your skate skiing, then I suggest that you give up all other snow and ice sports. Skate skiing is a religion and will brook no other gods or goddesses.

What is the difference between classic style and skate style? Simple: as you can see from the images above, you must wear tight-fitting lycra when skate skiing!

[Aside: I fancy that I know a thing or two about another sport in which you must wear tight-fitting, lycra togs: biking. And I have to say that in my not-so-humble opinion, biking, especially road racing, is not as technically difficult as skate skiing.]

Once you have equipped yourself with the absolute minimal gear (Atomic skis, One-Way poles, Swix hat, Sugoi gloves, Sporthill wind briefs, Louis Garneau tights, Rottefella bindings, Hartjes boots, Casco visor, Smartwool undergarments, Sunnto heart rate monitor,  Toko race suit, and Subaru Outback–yes, it is always about the gear), you might consider these 10 essential tips as you progress along this trajectory of 11 stages of expertise:

1. clod

2. toad

3. dork

4. beginner

5. super dork

6. hack

7. intermediate

8. ultra dork

9. freak

10. doper

11. elite

Tip #1. Leave your $300 One Way, Swix, or Excel poles at home for the first ten training sessions. Why? Because you can’t sharpen a pencil if you don’t know where the eraser is!

Tip #2. Try skiing on one ski at the beginning of each training session. This will, among other things, allow me to steal one of your skis. And also, it helps you to balance.

Tip #3. Take up speed skating or hockey: the skating motion is similar (not identical, but it helps). Oh, but I forgot to tell you that you need to take up speed skating or hockey 6 years AGO. Otherwise forget it. For crying out loud, don’t take up hockey right now you idiot!

Tip #4. Quit now.

Tip #5. Start each training session slower than you ever thought possible. Do you have pent up energy? Then try parkour:

Tip #6. When you technique falls to pieces, stop for the day because in one more minute, you are going to crash and break your shoulder. Hey, even good skiers fall:

It’s just like they say about downhill skiing, the last run of the day is the most dangerous. Oh, not because you are tired though. Because you are racing to get into the hot tub.

Tip #7. Brush your thighs with your hands when poling. Keep ‘em close to your body or you will twist your torso. But, of course, you must leave your poles at home for the first season, so ignore #7 until season two.

Tip #8. Don’t forget to breathe. If you focus on technique too hard, you might end up holding your breath. Work on breathing patterns matched to terrain and technique.

Tip #9.

If you feel yourself hunching over, then you are a crab.

If you feel yourself standing straight up, then you are an emu.

If you sit back on your skis, then you are a monkey.

Each of these represents a viable style in skate skiing. In fact, these are the only three positions available. Even the World Cuppers fall into these three categories.

Tip #10. When launching off of a mogul, keep your head turning in the desired directions. This helps with sticking a freakside 720: Lookie:

Pax and Ski Wax


3 Comments on “I do not recommend cross-country skiing.

  1. ok, madison wisconsin, feb. 20, ski criterium around the capitol. these videos are raw. except i don’t understand why those guys are falling, they don’t look like they are going that fast. hope the ribs are improving, have to race saturday.

  2. You should give cross country skiing a second chance. It doesn’t take too long to get the knack of it. Just keep at it. Start on level or near level ground.

    • Thank you for reading my blog, Trailblazer. I suspect that as you read some of my older posts, you might sense that I am sarcastic and often (too often, perhaps) bombastic.

      Since I devoted several thousand words to the Birkie Ski Race last year, and because I am doing the Birkie again this year, you can bet your blazed trails that I am a skier. In fact, I am a “NORDIC-JUNKY FREAK” such as I mention in my blog. I give skiing a second, third, and fourth chance, etc.



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