Skate skiing is a fast-growing, easy-to-learn winter sport that is in fact a distinct style of cross-country skiing. Let’s learn more about that!
Learning to Skate Ski
People often mix skate skiing with classic cross-country skiing, and although they may seem similar, they are not. From the gears and skis to the actual technique, both are two separate disciplines.
The classic style ski base consists of two zones, namely “kick zone” and “glide zone.” On the other hand, a skate ski base is a single unit of glide zone which covers the entire length of the ski. The classic style skis are noticeably longer than the skate skis.
Talking about poles, skate skiing requires a longer pole, approximately the same height as you.
Basic Athletic Stance
First and foremost you need to learn about the basic athletic stance. In skate skiing or any kind of skiing, an athletic stance is a key to good body balance.
- Athletes should stand upright, relaxed, with feet shoulder-width apart.
- The next step is to bend softly with the back rounded forward.
- It is essential to relax your shoulders and jaws.
A trick to climb uphill is that the center of gravity should be lower to utilize the force on the legs to push yourself up.
Basic Skate Skiing Techniques
There are plenty of skate skiing techniques one can adopt following the terrain and weather situation of the practice area.
1. Offset Technique: V1 Skate Skiing
What is the Offset or V1 Skate Technique?
Offset is the basic technique for any beginner and should be mastered before moving forward with other skate skiing techniques. The offset technique, also known as the V1 technique, is mainly used for climbing uphill, but it is a very effective technique for flatter surfaces when the snow is quiet and stagnant.
How to Perform the V1-Offset Technique?
- The skier maintains a constant squat position where the chest is low to the ground in the offset technique.
- The skis are kept at a V angle to balance the body weight while going uphill.
Apart from the body position, the identifying feature of the offset technique is the arm and pole asymmetry.
- Arms and poles are constantly asymmetrical, which sets this technique aside from the others. This means that the poles in offset don’t correspond to one another in terms of position.
The coordination between the skis and the poles in offset happens in a 3:1 movement. There are 4 points of contact for the skier with the snow (2 poles and 2 skis).
- Both the poles touch the snow virtually simultaneously as one ski, while the other ski works alone.
- This is how the 3 contacts happen in incoordination, followed by the fourth one. That being said, you can either offset on your right side or left.
2. One Skate Technique: V2 Skate
What is the One Skate or V2 Skate Technique?
The one skate technique is a perfect balance between power and speed. The force applied to the skis is proportional to the velocity with which the skier moves. It is very pleasing to watch, and once done correctly; it is the fastest. It is also known as the V2 technique.
For experienced skiers, one skate is the most versatile technique used across a wide range of surfaces. However, it is ideal for flats and gentle rolling terrains.
How to Perform the One Skate-V2 Technique?
One skate is a fundamentally symmetrical technique that features a double-pole push with every ski contact. This means the following:
- Both poles connect with the ground each time a ski touches the snow.
- To maintain the symmetry, the shoulders of the skier should continue to remain in a perpendicular angle to the snow and the direction headed.
It is easily identifiable because it is a striking technique with unique pole-arm coordination.
3. Two Skate Technique: V2 Alternate
What is the Two Skate or V2 Alternate Technique?
The two skate technique or the V2 alternate technique, like the offset, is asymmetrical. However, in application, it is more similar to the one skate technique. In this technique, the skier connects both poles to the ground with the push of one ski. So you can do a two-skate on the right or left side, depending on which leg you use to push the poles.
How to Perform the Two Skate-V2 Alternate Technique?
Unlike offset, the poles and skis in this technique don’t go down and touch the snow simultaneously. In two skates, the ski lands and touches the snow when the arms and poles are still swinging back to the original position.
The skier should shift body weight higher when applying force to the poles to maintain balance. Two-skate is more feasible than one skate when dealing with high speed on flat terrain because, with the increasing velocity, it gets challenging to pole on every leg push.
Even though the two-skate technique enables skiers to move fast, it takes a lot of balance to carry out this technique.
Poles are an essential aspect of the whole skiing experience. Remember that the poles are for “enhancing” and “complimenting” a glide rather than creating one.
You should hold poles with light hands and easy movements to be able to apply force on the skis when required.
Other Skate Skiing Techniques
The above described are the most used skate skiing techniques. However, skiers use a few more techniques as per feasibility and surface conditions.
1. Diagonal Skate
Diagonal skate is most convenient for uphill terrain where a more significant amount of power is required to climb up.
In the diagonal skate technique, there’s an opposite swinging of the arms and legs, somewhat like walking. It is ideal for beginners to develop balance and an effective skate push as they climb uphill. It works symmetrically, balancing both the arms and legs to the push.
2. Free Skate
The free skate technique is used for the fastest speeds. Often in ski racing, skiers shift to this technique when there is downhill or smooth terrain, and they feel the need to pace. The free skate is a beginner-friendly technique, where the pole push is not required.
This way, skiers can keep the center of their mass low, which aids proper balance. The stance for free skating requires the skiers to bend perpendicular to the ground with arms swinging in the air. They can hold the poles in different positions.