Classic Cross-Country Skiing for Beginners: Everything You Need to Know to Get Started || REI

Classic Cross-Country Skiing for Beginners: Everything You Need to Know to Get Started || REI


– Hi I’m Greg Rhodes with
PSIA and the REI Co-op and I’m here to cover some tips for you to get you classic skiing down the trail. (upbeat music) What we’re gonna be covering are skills before we put our skis
on, moving on flat ground, pole basics, going uphill, going downhill, turning and coming to a stop,
and getting up from a fall. Before we put our skis on,
let’s practice our body position that we’re gonna use
when we’re on our skis. It’s a basic athletic body position where your ankles and
your knees are bent softly and your hips are right over your feet. You can even stand with your
hands out in front of you, practicing and having this
soft bouncing movement to feel the pressure on
the bottom of your foot. When we classic ski, we
actually stand on one foot. So take that two-footed athletic stance and shift your weight over to one foot and practice having that same
stable and stacked position on one foot just like
you’ll be classic skiing. You can switch feet and try it on both. Now that we’re on snow, we’re
gonna have to put on our skis before we can start sliding. When you put on your
skis, put ’em on the snow, put ’em parallel to each other. There’s no right and left ski, so don’t worry about where they’re at. And then you’re gonna wanna
clear the snow off your boot, line your toe up behind the rubber bumper, and push down ’til it clicks. The first thing you can do
to get moving on the snow is to do a little shuffle, just shuffle your feet underneath you to keep your feet underneath your hips and have that feeling of
having a long ski on your foot. You can also think of the shuffle as just walking on your skis. Now we’re gonna bring it to the point where we get to actually
glide on our skis. The fun advantage of being
on cross country skis over just hiking in the
snow or being on snowshoes is we get to glide. So let’s take that shuffling
and add a glide into it. To do this for the first time, a lot of times what we like to talk about is doing a shuffle, shuffle, glide. This way you can practice
having your feet underneath you and then gliding on one foot, shuffling with your feet underneath you, and then gliding on the next foot. Let’s get to actually kicking and gliding on our cross country skis. When we kick and glide on our skis, or the actual classic stride,
what you wanna think about is quickly bending your
ankles and your knees to set your wax pocket, or
your grip zone of your ski, and gliding onto the new ski. This will be a sequence of
quickly bending your ankle and your knee and driving
your other foot forward. One of the best ways that
we can have everybody get going on the cross country skis, is to actually practice
kicking and gliding without using their poles. Let me give you a demo what I
mean by skiing without poles. When you’re classic skiing,
you really wanna remember to focus on setting the pocket
and pushing off that ski. Think of bending the ankle
and the knee quickly, push down on the ball
of your foot, and glide, push and glide. When we cross country ski, we don’t just use our skis and our legs, we actually get to use poles too. Poles provide us an opportunity
to use both our upper and our lower body to move more
efficiently down the trail, as well as gives us a
little bit of balance when we’re in that glide position. To start, we’re gonna
have to put on our poles. When you put on your poles, you wanna go up from
the bottom of the strap. I always talk about it
as the rabbit comes up through the hole and
then grabs onto the tree. You wanna look to make
sure that the pole strap is between your hand and the pole. If you put on a pole and
the strap is too loose because you grab it below
where the strap goes in, this is too loose and you’re gonna have to
tighten up your strap. Now that we have our poles on, we’re gonna really start putting
our arms into the skiing. Before we start moving
and doing the striding, let’s actually just work on some basics of double poling that are
gonna be easier to apply. What I like to have people
think about the first time is getting that official body position that we’ve always done, so remember our ankles
and our knees are bent, our hips are over our feet. And now with our hands, we’re gonna put ’em out in front of us, about at the level of our mouth, our elbow is gonna be bent at 90 degrees, not straight, but right at 90 degrees. The first movement pattern
you’re gonna think about is you’re gonna think
about activating your core. So when you do this, you
wanna have your hands out in front of you, activate the core until your poles come to the snow. Activate the core ’til the
poles come to the snow. One thing that you can check on to make sure you’re doing this correctly and that your arms are
in the right position, your pole tips are landing
right at the tip of your binding to the tips of your toes. If your arms are too long, they land out by the tips of your skis. If your hands aren’t out
in front of you far enough, they land out by your heels
or by the tails of your skis. Elbows at 90 degree, activate your core, pole tips to the tops of your bindings. When we’re double poling, we’re doing more than just activate our core and
bring our poles to the snow, we actually need to use
the poles to push off of. So what we’re gonna do is
you’re gonna activate your core, bring the poles to the snow, and then you’re gonna
drive your elbows back so you push off your poles
to move yourself forward. Activate the core, push and slide forward. One good way to think about
the sequence of double poling is to think about activating my core, and then pushing my hands to my pockets. Activate, push to my pockets. Now that we’ve worked on
both kicking with our feet and our skis and our double poling, let’s put that together
to actually classic ski, or what we call diagonal striding. Diagonal striding uses
your arms independently and not together, but the
same movement pattern happens, with your hand just in
front of your shoulder about level with your
mouth, elbow at 90 degrees, activate, push with your
hand to your pocket, with your other arm swinging
through at the same time. The reason why we call it diagonal stride is the timing with your legs is that it’s opposite arm, opposite leg. So before you even have your skis on, have your poles on and
just walk down the trail and slowly feel like what it feels like to have your poles in your
hands and diagonal stride. Now that you have the timing
down with your walking, put back on your skis and try
it with just a little shuffle and low intensity to see if
you can get the timing down. Here are a couple easy
ways to get up that hill so you can use more of the Nordic centers
that you’re visiting. Gradual uphills can
easily be taken care of with just shortening up your stride into one of those shuffle
movements that you did when you first got on your skis. Keep your skis in the
track, shuffle up the hill with a shorter push but make
sure you really set that pocket with maybe a little bit
more ankle and knee flexion to set that pocket harder when
you’re getting up that hill. If the hill gets steep enough that that short diagonal
stride, you start slipping, you might need to use what
we call the herringbone. The herringbone is where
you step out of the track, your ski tips are going to
go out into a V and separate and you’re gonna start rolling
your feet into the inside and dig the inside edge of
your skis into the snow. You’re gonna keep your arms and your legs still in a opposite arm,
opposite leg pattern, but you’re gonna just
slowly step up the hill, and use your poles to make
sure you don’t slide backwards as you take a step up the hill with your feet in that V shape and the middle edges
rolled towards your arches, digging into the snow. The hill gets so steep,
you might even have to side step up the hill
or even take off your skis and walk up the hill, especially
if it’s really deep powder. If you have to use
herringbone, side stepping, or walking up the hill, make
sure you step out of the track and keep the track nice and
crisp and clean for those that are actually gonna
diagonal stride up the hills. If you skied up a hill,
you get the opportunity to go down the hill. The first way to get down the hill is keep your skis in the track, get back into that athletic body position, that neutral stance that we started with, ankles bent, knees bent,
hips right over our feet, hands slightly out in front of us, and just keep your skis
sliding in the track as you gradually go down the hill. This is something you can
use on low angle hills, places that you feel more comfortable, keeping your skis in the track is a great, safe way to do it. If there’s a corner in that downhill, you can usually just ride
those skis in the track just like a train would ride
the rails around a corner. If you wanna have a little bit
more safety and speed control you can do a half wedge. Shift your weight to your ski that you’re gonna keep in the
track, lift up your other ski, step it out of the
track, shift your weight to the wedged ski, pushing
in on the inside edge, and slowly pressuring that
ski that’s out of the track to control your speed and slow you down. It’s easy to lift your leg back up, stick your foot in the track,
and continue gliding on. If the hill is too big, or you
want a little bit more safety and comfort when you’re
going down the hill, you might wanna use a full
wedge to get down that hill. The top of the hill is
probably the best time to step all the way out of
the track with both feet. And now you’re gonna put
both feet into a wedge, meaning you’re gonna move both heels out, putting your toes together,
your tips of your skis together, and pushing in on the
insides of your feet, towards the arch of your foot. This way you’re pushing out
with both left and right foot at the same time, and you can
really increase the pressure or increase how wide that wedge is to slow down your skis
as you’re going downhill. Think about it as you’re a snowplow, pushing into the snow,
slowing yourself down. As you’re doing this to make
sure and increase that pressure you’re gonna want to drive your knees towards the tip of your skis, bending your ankles and your knees, keeping your hips right over your feet. If you want to stop, you’re gonna have to really push out hard until
you come to a complete stop. One other reminder, whenever
you’re going down the hills, keeping your hands out in front of you and your pole tips behind you
is gonna keep you in control as you’re going down that hill. If you try to stop yourself
with your pole tips, you might catch your pole and take it to your chest or your face. If you come to a hill
that’s a little too steep for your current abilities, or you don’t feel safe going down it, it’s okay to take your skis
off and walk down the hill. Just one reminder to be courteous of your other cross-country
skiers and the trail conditions and make sure you do it to the side and definitely do not walk
down the classic track. One of the great things
about cross country skiing is our ski trails wander
throughout forests and prairies so there’s always gonna be a turn that we’re gonna have to do. There’s a couple easy
ways to make the turn. First of all, if you’re classic skiing, the tracks are gonna easily just guide you around every corner and you
just feel like you’re a train in the train tracks, just
keep your skis in the tracks and let the track turn you. Another turn you can use is a step turn. Step turns are really just
stepping your inside foot in the direction of the turn and then bringing your
other foot parallel with it. If you’re moving fast, the rhythm of that is just gonna increase with
smaller steps each single time. Just remember, it’s inside foot, parallel, inside foot, parallel
until you get all the way around the corner and then you get back to just gliding straight down the trail. If you use the wedge to get down a hill and there’s a turn in the trail, you’re gonna have to use
what we call a wedge turn. You’re gonna keep your feet
still in that wedge position, but now you’re gonna
start steering your feet by pressuring the outside foot a little bit more than the inside foot to steer your skis around a corner. When you’re sliding on slow,
inevitably you might fall. This is okay, everybody does it. The first thing to remember
when you first are on the snow is to take a deep breath and relax and understand you’ll be okay. Then start thinking about
how I’m gonna arrange my skis and my poles so everything is untangled, and in a straight line,
and parallel to each other. One way I like to think about it is I like to do what I call a dead bug. I roll over on my back,
put my feet up in the air, make sure my skis are parallel,
my poles are not tangled, and then slowly drop my feet to the side so my feet are parallel to each other. Now I’ve found myself in
a very untangled position, easy to stand up. If you’re excited and interested in trying cross-country skiing, we invite you to find
your local Nordic center, rent some gear, and get out on the trails. If it would make you feel a
little bit more comfortable, find a Nordic center with
a certified instructor and take a lesson. Thank you for watching. If you found this
interesting and valuable, click on the like button and
subscribe to our channel. If you want to know more information, click on one of our other videos.

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