How to Diagonal Stride [Video]

Diagonal Stride is the primary classic cross-country ski technique. It’s used mainly on uphills, but beginners use it on flats and even downhills.

This is the technique that makes people say, “If you can walk, you can cross-country ski.” That’s 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.

What makes diagonal stride so easy to love is that even if you are really “bad” at it, you can still have a fun day shuffling along the trails. It’s easy to perform at a beginner level, but you can spend a lifetime learning to finesse this technique and exploring all it’s subtleties.


Here’s some tips to help you learn how to diagonal stride:

  • G.KillickDS375x290Diagonal 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.