One Simple Truth to Help You Cross-country Ski Better
If you want to ski better, you are going to have to ski differently.
It’s an obvious statement, but still worth contemplating.
When you cross-country ski, your body naturally falls into certain movement patterns. We can think of these as “bad habits”, or we can think of these pre-programmed movements as assets. They have underlying balance and co-ordination elements which you can tap into as you develop your technique.
In order to ski better, you need to build on your existing skills and establish news ones. You can only do that if you are willing to explore new ways of moving your body.
The problem will be that your usual way of skiing will feel most natural to you and anything else will feel odd. If you start changing the way you ski, you will probably feel strange and wonder, “Does this make me look weird?”
Maybe. It’s possible you are skiing worse than before you started experimenting. But, so what? You are still making progress. The first step in building new movement patterns has to be to break free of the old ones.
The core skill we have to learn in cross-country skiing is to balance, with our hips forward, on a moving ski. This is true for both skate and classic skiing. In fact, that pretty much sums up the most essential challenge of cross-country skiing.
It sounds simple, and you may only need to move your hips a few inches further forward, but you only get there by working your way through some body positions and new movements which will feel extremely unstable and strange at first.
So don’t feel shy about trying new things next time you go for a ski. You can experiment in all sorts of ways. Try skiing more crouched over, explore how it feels to reach your pole way out in front of you as compared to closer in, try stretching and twisting your body on the downhills.
The best thing to try is to just get your body leaning further forward by flexing your ankles and pressing your hips forward. Bu, really, do whatever you like! Just make sure you mix it up and really try to think about how your body feels as you shift it around.
Playing around will improve your comfort level on your skis, which will translate into better skiing. It will also improve your body awareness, which is key.
Besides, why not have some fun? You’ve got nothing to lose!