Classic vs Skate

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Closeup image of legs of skate skier and legs of classic skierSummary: Are you new to cross-country skiing and can’t decide whether to learn classic, skate or both?

First thing to determine is whether you have access to trails that are groomed for both skate and classic. Not all nordic areas have skate trails.

Once you’ve got that figured out, the next most important question is, “Which looks like the most fun to you?”

There are pros and cons to getting started with each technique, but in our opinion the most important factor is “What appeals to you the most?”

One of the first questions to ask yourself when getting started in Nordic skiing is do you want to skate or classic ski? Or perhaps learn both at the same time?

In diagonal stride (a classic ski technique) your arms and legs swing in opposition, which is a very natural human movement.

Diagonal Stride is not “walking on skis”. It’s closer to “running on skis with a glide”; but really it’s something quite different from either running or walking.

The reason classic skiing is considered an easier point of entry isn’t because classic skiing is technically easier, it’s because beginners can “just walk on their skis” and have a good time.

We agree that classic skiing is easier to enjoy when you lack skill and efficiency, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best point of entry for you.

Reprinted from Cross Country Ski Technique