Diagonal Stride is the primary classic cross-country ski technique. It’s used mainly on uphill, but beginners use it on flats and even downhill.
If you can walk, you can cross-country ski.” Because your arms and legs move in opposition, the same way as when you walk or run.
It’s the familiarity of this movement pattern that makes classic skiing, and diagonal stride in particular, the easiest point of entry into the sport of cross-country skiing.
Things to Consider
- Diagonal Striding is more like running than walking. Thinking of running on your skis and adding a little glide.
- Notice the forward lean of an expert skier. Beginners tend to ski more upright.
- Diagonal stride is comprised of a kick phase and a glide phase. The “kick” is the part where you push your wax pocket down and back against the snow. Beginners should prioritize developing an effective kick; otherwise they’ll slip and feel frustrated. Push down aggressively against the snow so you can teach yourself how to “get good grip.” Until you can push yourself forward, there’s not much point in working on your glide.
- The kick does not come from the extension of the legs. The kick comes from the core, and from a traction motion. The leg extending is just the follow through of that movement.
Picture 1: The kick phase. Note the similitude between skating and classic. The use of forward momentum is similar
Picture 2: The gliding phase. The body angle is still the same. The alternate legs at what keep you from falling forward.
Note the weight shift that allows you to glide up on that leg
Note the kick length. The pressure applied is rather long. Start gripping forward, applying pressure through the ankle joint and the metatarsals (toe joints).
Note once again the ankle flexion driving the body forward (Picture 1). However the center of gravity is centered over the gliding ski. (Picture 2)