Nordic Skiing Vocabulary

Fundamental terminology for coaching nordic skiing.

It is important to use consistent vocabulary while teaching.   If needed, explain it in other words, but keep consistency as a whole.

Pierre Niess

Gravity is keeping Peirre on the ground.


Gravity or gravitation is a natural phenomenon by which all things with energy are brought toward (or gravitate toward) one another, including stars, planets, galaxies and even light and sub-atomic particles. That includes you and me.


  • Forward momentum relates to one’s center of gravity being forward from a neutral position (standing).
  • Without weight shift on to the other leg or intervention of the poles, face planting would unfortunately occur.
  • Lean forward as a whole, do not just bend forward with your butt sticking the other way, it would not affect the center of gravity.


Consists of transferring one’s weight from one leg to the other. There is no lag time where the weight is evenly distributed on both legs. The transfer from one leg to the other is immediate.
Weight shift allows for:

  • A better propulsion
  • Exponential gliding time from that propulsion
  • Forward momentum
  • Time (to angle or place your ski where needed)

Nordic Leg Weight Distribution

Equal Distribution of Weight

Nordic Weight Transfer

Weight Transfer From One Leg …

Weight Transfer to Other Leg

…To the Other Leg

Skating Example

The weight shift is the same in classic

Picture 1: equal distribution of the weight on both legs

Picture 2&3: Weight transfer from one leg to the other


Alignment relates to forward momentum.

In other words, to go from A to B the most direct route is a straight line.

  • Every movement involves specific muscle actions.
  • If we want to go forward using forward momentum as well as gravity, it requires movements to be aligned into the direction we are going.
  • For example if I am going forward I want to avoid every parasite activity that would counteract my forward motion (Dropping the hip out of alignment)

Hip Dropping Out of Alignment

The hip falls out of alignment and opens.

Keeping Alignment of the Hips

Keeping Alignment to Keep the Correct Timing

Alignment Example

Picture 1: The hip falls out of alignment and opens. The core cannot stay involved.

  • It will lead the tip of ski to dig in the snow and the ski to lose speed
  • The weight transfer will be delayed. (Time for the hip to be back in place before next transfer)

Picture 2: It is important to keep alignment to keep the right timing



The LEAST effort for the MAXIMUM output

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